MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami police are still tight-lipped about the man they shot and killed on the MacArthur Causeway Saturday afternoon, but new details back claims they had no choice: the naked man they shot was trying to chew the face off another naked man, and refused to obey police orders to stop his grisly meal, which one source now claims included his victim’s nose and eyeballs.
Surveillance video taken from security cameras at the nearby Miami Herald building show a police officer arrive on the scene, appear to be startled by the spectacle of two naked men lying on the street, and draw his service weapon. It appears that the officer shot one of the men, but it was difficult to tell in the video.
The bizarre shooting happened shortly after 2 p.m., when police responded to a 911 call about two naked men fighting on a bike path along the Causeway, which was packed with traffic on a busy holiday weekend.
Miami police have not confirmed the details of what happened next, but sources close to the investigation told CBS4 News that officers found one man gnawing on the face of another, in what one police source called the most gruesome thing he’d ever seen.
The head of the Miami Fraternal Order of Police, Armando Aguilar, said drugs are at the root of the attack.
“We have seen, already, three or four cases that are exactly like this where some people have admitted taking LSD and it’s no different than cocaine psychosis,” Aguilar said.
In the cases Aguilar mentioned, he said the people have all taken their clothing off, been extremely violent with what seemed to be super-human strength, even using their jaws as weapons.
“Extremely strong, I took care of a 150 pound individual who you would have thought he was 250 pounds,” Aguilar said. “It took six security officers to restrain the individual.
Emergency room Doctor Paul Adams agreed with Aguilar saying similar cases have showed up in the ER.
“We noticed an increase, probably after Ultra Fest,” Dr. Adams said.
Adams said the new LSD is commonly called “bath salts.” The drug, Adams said, can raise a persons body temperature to such a high degree that logic and the ability to feel pain are lost; then delirium sets in and that often leads to disaster.
“We’ve had several deaths,” Dr. Adams said. “Earlier last year, we probably saw our first death from bath salts where people were running on the MacArthur Causeway, under the MacArthur Causeway being chased by the police and then all of the sudden just collapsing.”
Aguilar, who heads the local chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police, said he has spoken with the officer who responded. Aguilar said the officer saw what the man was doing, and ordered him to stop. He said the man growled at the officer, and then returned to his meal.
Aguilar said the man ate his victim’s nose and eyeballs.
The officer then used his service weapon and shot the man, Aguilar said, but the gunshot had no effect. Other sources confirmed that the man refused to obey, and continued his attack. Aguilar said the officer had no choice but to keep shooting until the attacker was dead.
Investigators are sharing limited details about the confrontation, saying only that the two men were fighting and the officers felt they had no choice but to take deadly force.
“During this confrontation an officer did discharge his weapon striking one of the individuals, said Det. Willie Moreno, spokesperson for Miami Police.
But sources close to the investigation said that dry recitation of the facts apparently doesn’t go far enough. They said the man still would not give in to police commands, so officers fired again.
“That individual has lost his life right now,” Moreno said.
With the attacker dead, lying nude on the pavement, officers and paramedics were able to get to his victim and rush him to Jackson Memorial Hospital. Police sources say the man had virtually no face and was unrecognizable.
Police have shared no information about his identity or condition.
The surveillance video supplied to CBS4 by The Herald under a news sharing agreement is disturbing. At one point, whomever was controlling the cameras zoomed in to the two men lying nude and partially obscured by the MetroMover track. One man is motionless, but the other, presumably the man whose face was attacked, can be seen flailing his legs, possibly in pain.
The Herald used video editing tools to obscure portions of that man’s body as he moved.
The video covers a time frame of about 8 minutes, but despite the shooting of the attacker and the obvious distress shown by the victim, paramedics are not seen attempting to rescue him.
Dr. Adams said when people use the bath salts, they are a major danger to police, medics, and hospital workers.
“They come in and have to be restrained both chemically and physically, and you’re asking for someone to get hurt,” Adams said.
The victim was eventually taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital.
Once the bizarre confrontation came to an end, police were left with the task of figuring out what had happened. The investigation forced the closure of the causeway from Miami Beach to Miami, and also closed an exit to the causeway from I-95.
The investigation snarled traffic for hours and delayed thousands of motorists until ways could be found to get them off the causeway.
Police have had little official to say about the details, and have not released the name of the cannibalistic attacker.
Aguilar said the case also serves as a warning to drug dealers.
“If you are selling this LSD to people, unsuspecting people, on the street and somebody ends up dying as a result, you will be charged.”