Thursday, November 23, 2017
Public safety

No answers in naked man's flesh-eating attack

RECOMMENDED READING


Only the police tape, the bloodstain on the ground and a grotesque mystery remained Sunday after the brutal attack on the MacArthur Causeway in which one naked man was shot dead by police after he attacked another naked man and began eating his face.

Drivers coming back from Miami Beach on the causeway took their feet off the gas, bike riders slowed down and dog walkers stopped to look at the scene of Saturday afternoon's macabre assault, which generated international headlines.

They didn't see much. The scene had been cleaned up.

Security video from the adjacent Miami Herald building captured snippets of the violence on the MacArthur'rs off-ramp to Biscayne Boulevard as the two men — one dead, the other gravely injured — lay on the sidewalk as scores of officers arrived.

The victim remained Sunday at Jackson Memorial Hospital's Ryder Trauma Center. In addition to eating the man's flesh, his attacker, according to police sources, tried to gouge out his eyes.

Neither was identified Sunday, and the name of the officer who killed the attacker was not released.

But that didn't stop people from talking, wondering and offering up their own theories.

Police said it all began about 2 p.m. Saturday when a Road Ranger spotted the men and shouted on his loudspeaker for the attacker to back away. Meanwhile, a woman also saw what was happening flagged down an officer.

One witness, Larry Vega, told WSVN-Ch. 7 he was riding his bicycle on the MacArthur when he saw a man tearing off pieces of the victim's flesh with his mouth.

"I told him to get off," Vega told the station, "and the guy just kept eating the other guy away." Vega said he found a police officer, who approached and told the attacker to get off the man.

"The guy just stood, his head up like that, with pieces of flesh in his mouth," Vega said. "And he growled."

The officer fired, striking the attacker, but the man kept chewing, Vega said. The officer fired again, hitting him several more times, eventually killing him. After that, Vega said, all he saw was blood.

"It's one of the most gruesome things I've ever seen in my life in person," he told the station.

Under the causeway's bridge Sunday, in the area near the attack populated by homeless people, a sheltered space was littered with cardboard mats, syringes and broken bottles. A man who called himself Rio stood near the off-ramp, about 100 feet from the crime scene, holding a sign that read "homeless please help."

Rio said he wasn't the only person who hung around the area. But Saturday, when he was there, he didn't see anyone else. He was napping, Rio said, when the chaos began. "A police officer woke me up and told me I was in the middle of a crime scene," Rio said. On the other side of the causeway, near the eastbound lanes, another man who gave only his first name, Andres, was returning to his usual spot after showering and having a warm meal at a Miami church, he said.

"In my experience, I don't see crack or anything like that around here," he said.

But drugs remained part of the conversation. Saturday, police theorized that the attacker might have suffered from "cocaine psychosis," a drug-induced craze that bakes the body internally and often leads those it affects to strip naked to try to cool off.

Other theories abounded, of course, sometimes leading to comparisons to one horror-movie staple, zombies. And though it may have happened in Miami, others elsewhere weighed in.

Sean Newell wrote on the popular sports blog, Deadspin: "This kind of crazy only happens in Florida."

Comments

Motorcyclist, 27, dies in crash with taxi cab in Largo

LARGO — A motorcyclist died after crashing into a taxi cab Thursday morning, police reported.Sydney Pender, 27, was riding a 2012 Yamaha motorcycle southbound on 66th Street about 10:30, according to a Largo Police Department release.At the same time...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Update: Mother, toddler hit by car in critical condition at TGH

TAMPA — A mother and one of her two small children who were hit by a car while trying to cross Dale Mabry Highway on Wednesday were still in the hospital on Thanksgiving, according to Tampa General Hospital.Cassandra Marie Spicola, 29, and 18-month-o...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Lutz pedestrian dies in accident on U.S. 41

LUTZ — A man is dead after deputies said he walked into the path of a car on U.S. Route 41 Wednesday night.Charles Miller, 69 of Lutz, was walking east across the highway at 7:34 p.m., according to Florida Highway Patrol.Daniel Johnson, 35 and also o...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Hernando deputies make arrest after finding body of dead woman Wednesday

BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County sheriff’s deputies arrested a 32-year-old man Wednesday who they say killed a woman.Joshua Carroll, 32, faces a charge of second-degree murder.Deputies found the body of the woman, who was not identified, at 15013 Old St...
Published: 11/22/17
Tampa husband gets life, wife 40 years for sexual assault on 7-year-old

Tampa husband gets life, wife 40 years for sexual assault on 7-year-old

TAMPA — The mother of a 7-year-old girl stood weeping in a federal courtroom, demanding lifelong prison sentences for the Tampa couple who sexually assaulted her daughter while the girl’s own father took videos and pictures. "I don’t want my child to...
Published: 11/22/17
Details emerge in suicide of Hernando school volunteer accused of sexual abuse

Details emerge in suicide of Hernando school volunteer accused of sexual abuse

A former Brooksville school volunteer accused of sexually assaulting teenage foreign exchange students who were under his care was found dead last week, a day before he was due in court on the charges.The body of Bruce McAllister was found at the bas...
Published: 11/22/17
Fire sends smoke through roof of Brass Flamingo adult club in Port Richey

Fire sends smoke through roof of Brass Flamingo adult club in Port Richey

PORT RICHEY — Crews from Pasco County fire rescue were battling a fire Wednesday morning that sent smoke pouring through the roof at the Brass Flamingo adult club, 9034 U.S. 19.The fire forced the closing of U.S. 19 but traffic was flowing again by 6...
Published: 11/22/17
Mountains beckon, but family sticks with beleaguered Seminole Heights for Thanksgiving this year

Mountains beckon, but family sticks with beleaguered Seminole Heights for Thanksgiving this year

TAMPA — Before the killings began, Bob and Vivian Fiallo envisioned having Thanksgiving at their North Carolina mountain getaway.Most years, the couple spends the holiday at their tidy, brick-faced home on North Olney Avenue, in the heart of Southeas...
Published: 11/22/17
Report: Pepin Academies director had alcohol in his system at time of fatal boating accident

Report: Pepin Academies director had alcohol in his system at time of fatal boating accident

CLEARWATER — The former Pepin Academies executive director who died in a watercraft and boat collision on Sept. 23 had a blood-alcohol level nearly twice the level at which the state presumes someone is impaired, a toxicology report showed. Just befo...
Published: 11/21/17
Pasco Deputies: Man climbs into bed with sleeping woman after multiple burglaries

Pasco Deputies: Man climbs into bed with sleeping woman after multiple burglaries

NEW PORT RICHEY — A man who ended a series of burglaries by breaking into the home of a sleeping woman, where he climbed into her bed, was arrested Monday afternoon, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office said.Russel Smith, 42, now faces three felony char...
Published: 11/21/17