ST. PETERSBURG — Police have arrested a young man on an attempted-murder charge and other crimes after they said he broke into a home this past weekend and severely beat a person inside.
Brandon Davis, 18, has not yet been booked into jail. Police took him to a hospital after the attack, which happened about 2 a.m. Sunday, because he was acting erratic and combative.
Davis' family later told police the teen may have been under the influence of spice (synthetic marijuana), bath salts or other hallucinogens when he suddenly attacked Nicholas Sorace, 54, who lives in the 7900 block of 12th Avenue S, in the Yacht Club Estates waterfront neighborhood off South Pasadena.
Sorace told police he went outside after hearing a noise early Sunday and saw Davis beating a dog.
Davis noticed him and gave chase, officials said.
Sorace ran back inside his home and locked his door, police said.
Davis kicked it down.
The teen began beating Sorace, police said. Davis bit the older man's face and hands, authorities said, and tried to gouge his eyes out. A woman who also lives at the home ran out a back door to get help.
By the time officers reached Sorace, he was bloody, battered and lying motionless on the floor. His eyes were swollen and he could only mumble.
Still, Davis stayed on top of him and kept punching.
"Demons! Jesus! Christ!" the young man screamed, according to police.
About four officers struggled to subdue Davis.
"Even after being tased twice, he was still fighting," police spokesman Mike Puetz said Tuesday. "He bit one officer in the hand, and attempted to kick and strike others. … The scene was rather bloody."
Authorities are still trying to understand the bizarre incident.
Police said Davis recently moved into the neighborhood. It does not appear that the two knew each other.
Sorace told officers that during the attack, Davis started calling him "the devil." Then he picked up a ceramic planter and hit Sorace's skull.
"The suspect told him he was going to eat his eyes," Puetz said.
In addition to attempted murder, Davis is charged with burglary, assault and resisting a law enforcement officer with violence, Puetz said.
Kameel Stanley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8643. Follow @cornandpotatoes on Twitter.