Bath salts are believed to be the likely cause of the grisly incident that took place over the weekend that left one man with 75 percent of his face missing and another fatally wounded.
The incident occurred Saturday afternoon when the strange details of the case were revealed to Miami police officers by a witness. Larry Vega was riding his bicycle along the MacArthur Causeway that connects downtown Miami with Miami Beach when he witnessed a grotesque scene featuring two naked men.
One of the men – later identified as Rudy Eugene, 31—was found gnawing at the face of the other, a not yet identified homeless man, tearing flesh from bone as if in a naked trance.
Vega told Miami television station WSVN, “The guy was, like, tearing him to pieces with his mouth, so I told him, ‘Get off!’” Vega continued, “The guy just kept eating the other guy away, like, ripping his skin.”
As the attack continued, Vega flagged down a Miami police officer. The officer, according to Vega, repeatedly commanded the attacker to get off the victim. The attacker simply turned his gaze towards the officer and growled as if a wild animal. The officer then shot the attacker, whom continued to gnaw at the victim’s face before he was fatally wounded by the officer’s second gunshot.
Emergency personnel hurried the victim to Jackson Memorial Hospital with a reported 75 percent of his face chewed away, including an eye, his ears and his lips.
According to Vega, “It was just a blob of blood. You couldn’t really see, it was just blood all over the place.”
The unidentified victim is reportedly in critical condition. Sgt. Javier Ortiz, vice president of the Miami police union, told The Miami Herald, “We’re hoping that he pulls through, for his well-being, but also so he can tell us what happened.”
The cause of the attack is under investigation and a number of theories have surfaced. Armando Aguilar of the Miami Fraternal Order of Police told WSVN that he thought the attack was caused by a likely overdose of LSD.
Aguilar stated, “What’s happening is whenever we see that a person has taken all his clothes off and has become violent, it’s indicative of this excited delirium that’s caused by overdose of drugs,” he continued, “What’s happening is, inside their body their organs are burning alive.”
NBCMiami.com, however, reported the testimony of an ER doctor at Jackson Memorial Hospital, Paul Adams, who theorized the attack is the result of bath salts, a drug containing amphetamine-like chemicals that produces an intoxicating effect on its users.
According to Adams, “Cocaine and new LSDs, they cause delirium, which [means] you don’t make sense when you take them,” he continued, “And when you don’t make sense and you don’t control your emotions, you don’t control your actions, you find yourself in circumstances that you just don’t want to be in.”
Florida, along with many other states, banned bath salts in 2011, but according to authorities, a new type of the drug has become popular.
Eugene has a sparse history of violence with only one arrest for domestic battery when he was 16. That charge was later dropped. However, the suspect has a lengthy criminal record over the past five years, having been arrested seven other times, mostly for marijuana-related charges, according to The Miami Herald.
Police are asking for assistance from the public as they believe there are likely other witnesses to the attack.