A Florida State University student, Austin Harrouff, 19, is being accused of fatally stabbing a married Jupiter couple at random and “biting the dead victim’s face off,” according to the Local 10 News.
On the night of Monday, August 15, while Michelle Stevens, 53, and her husband, John, 59, were in the garage of their Tequesta home, they were fatally attacked by a college student, who was in town with his fraternity brothers.
A neighbor, Jeff Fisher, 49, who was walking his dog near his home in the 19000 block of SE Kokomo Lane, heard the couple screaming and tried to intervene after seeing John “laying on the ground, bleeding pretty badly,” but as a result, he was also stabbed by the FSU student.
When police officials arrived at the scene, they discovered Harrouff – who is a former wrestler and football player at Suncoast Community High School – in the driveway of the couple’s home, atop of John and was apparently biting his face off.
Responding officers used a Taser in lieu of a gun as a safe attempt to subdue the suspect to avoid “shooting the victim, whom they weren’t aware if he was alive.”
However, their attempts at subduing the suspect with a Taser was ineffective; therefore, more deputies were called to the scene, including a K-9 dog, to mollify the suspect.
After several attempts, the FSU student was detained.
Martin County Sheriff William Snyder said that “the suspect, in this case, was abnormally strong,” causing police officials to believe that the student may have been “under the influence of some type of drug.”
Police say the victim, whose face was bitten off by the suspect, died at the scene and his wife’s body was found in the garage.
The neighbor who was stabbed seven times while trying to intervene was transported to the Palm Beach County hospital, but he is expected to survive.
He underwent surgery Tuesday morning.
During an investigation, Snyder said that it appears John tried to fight off the attacker as “there was an enormous amount of violence in that garage.”
Before the random and unprovoked attack on the married Jupiter couple, the FSU student – who is a sophomore studying pre-exercise science – was having dinner with his parents at a sports bar called Duffy’s Sports Grill.
Sources say he stormed out of the bar over “slow service.”
After learning about the double homicide, the restaurant released a statement, which stated as follows: “We have been a staple in the Jupiter community serving guests for over 25 years. We are shocked and saddened to learn about the incidents that have occurred in our local community.
“The restaurant is working closely with the Martin County Sheriff’s Office to support their investigation and will continue to assist law enforcement in providing them with the assets they need.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Stevens family.”
The Palm Beach Post reported that while in police custody, the FSU student initially gave police a fake name – Austin Moore – while continuing to “make animal noises, saying nothing rational in a statement to deputies.”
“It’s inexplicable,” Snyder said. “One of the first things we try to do at a crime scene is to 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.'”
Martin County police officials say the suspect does not know the couple and the attack appeared to be random.
After attacking the couple in the garage of their home, Harrouff was transported to a hospital in Palm Beach County, where he is sedated but is now listed in “grave condition,” according to hospital staff.
Reports indicate that although the suspect did not sustain any stab wounds during the random attack, he may “have ingested something that caused an intestinal issue.”
An investigation is underway.
[Image via iStock]