TEQUESTA, Fla. (AP) — A 19-year-old Florida State University student with no criminal record fatally stabbed a couple at random in their garage, wounded their neighbor and was biting the dead man's face when deputies finally subdued him, authorities said Tuesday.
Martin County Sheriff William Snyder told reporters that Austin Harrouff may have been on hallucinogenic drugs when he attacked Michelle Mishcon, 53, and John Stevens, 59, at their Tequesta home late Monday.
The sheriff said Harrouff joined his family for dinner at a restaurant a short distance away when he stormed off, apparently agitated about slow service. His parents were so worried by his behavior that they called police and some of his fraternity brothers in a futile attempt to find him before the attack.
About 45 minutes later, he apparently targeted the couple at random, the sheriff said.
"It's inexplicable," Snyder said. "One of the first things we try to do at a crime scene is try to understand the motive of the offender, because it is the motive of the offender that gets us going in the right direction. In this case, we can't establish a motive. It's 'I don't know.'"
Snyder said Harrouff stormed out of the nearby Duffy's, a popular sports bar and restaurant, at about 8:30 p.m. He said the would-be rescuer called 911 at 9:20 p.m. to report the attack, which apparently began in the garage where the couple liked to sit at night.
The son of a dentist, Harrouff is muscular -- he wrestled and played football at Suncoast Community High School in nearby Riviera Beach, where rosters listed him at 6-feet-tall and 200 pounds. He's a sophomore at FSU, majoring in exercise science.
When the first deputy arrived minutes later, she used her Taser on Harrouff, but it didn't faze him, he said. She tried pulling him off Stevens' body, but couldn't. Other deputies arrived shortly along with a dog and it took all of them to subdue Harrouff. Snyder said they didn't shoot, fearing their bullets would strike the victim.
"The suspect in this case was abnormally strong," Snyder said, making him think Harrouff was on drugs. He said hospital blood tests showed no signs of methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin or other common drugs; it will take longer to test for less common hallucinogenic drugs such as flakka or bath salts.
Stevens died in the driveway. Mishcon was found dead in the garage. State records show Stevens recently owned a lawn-fertilizing franchise.
Snyder said the neighbor who tried to intervene was stabbed and has been hospitalized, but is expected to survive.
Dr. Wade Harrouff declined to comment about his son's arrest.
Tequesta is a small, affluent community on the Atlantic coast about 20 miles north of Palm Beach.
Flakka had a brief burst in popularity in late 2014 and 2015, primarily in South Florida, but its usage quickly waned after stories circulated about users' deaths and mental breakdowns, and a crackdown was carried out in China, where it has been manufactured.
California's lawsuit against a Trump administration plan to add a citizenship question to the 2020 U.S. census moved closer to trial after a U.S. judge refused to throw out the challenge Friday.
San Diego Border Patrol on Friday announced agents arrested a group of undocumented immigrants after they jumped over a section of temporary barrier as photographers and media outlets filmed.
How many times a day do you pass a co-worker, say ‘hello,’ but not take the time to ask how they are feeling?
The "Top Nine" pictures you are seeing on Instagram is done through a website that scans your posts and profiles, but is this fun flashback safe? Eric Alvarez verifies where your information is going and why you might to think twice!
The city of San Diego will close Children's Pool beach Saturday in preparation of harbor seal pupping season, city officials announced Friday.
Your home's garage is probably filled with all types of things, but did you know some of the most common items found in garages should not be in there?
Excited fans wanting to see Sir Paul McCartney at Petco Park next June are experiencing a bit of sticker shock at some fees attached to the ticket costs.
A group of conservative activists and parents whose loved ones were killed by undocumented immigrants held a rally in San Ysidro Friday in support of increased security at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The jury deliberating the fate of a former Yuma police officer accused of raping a female relative during a stay at her home in Kensington has gone home for the weekend and will resume deliberations on Monday morning.
The chief justice of the California Supreme Court said Friday she gave up her Republican Party affiliation over concerns about increasing political polarization and incivility in the U.S.