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TEQUESTA (CBSMiami) – A desperate call on the police radio gives a closer look at what happened the night a 19-year-old Florida State University student is accused of attacking and killing a Tequesta couple in their garage.
DISPATCH: “Can fire rescue go in?”
DEPUTY: “No sir. I’ve got this guy wrapped around him and he’s biting him.”
When deputies first arrived, they said Austin Harrouff was intertwined with John Stevens on the floor of the garage. Deputies said Harrouff was biting Stevens’ face and stomach after stabbing Stevens and his wife Michelle.
“It appeared to one of our deputies that it was like a mixed martial arts, an MMA hold, he was just wrapped around him they were body to body trying to pull them away, pry him off,” said Martin County Sheriff William Snyder.
Snyder said they were so intertwined that his deputies could not use deadly force to pull him off – it took Tasers, deputies and a dog to finally get Harrouff under control.
“We used a lot of force, up to kicking the suspect in the head. He was so intertwined with the victim they were afraid a projectile would go through him and into the victim. They didn’t contemplate using deadly force,” Snyder said.
On the radio, deputies were heard calling for help. They were also heard saying they had two possible signal sevens, which in police talk means dead bodies.
Sheriff Snyder said to this point he still has not spoken to Harrouff, who is heavily sedated.
What Snyder has gathered is that while in that garage Harrouff may have drank something poisonous.
Martin County sheriff’s investigators told WPEC, our CBS affiliate in West Palm Beach, that they are not sure if Harrouff drank the chemicals to harm himself or if he was just thirsty.
Snyder is also trying to figure out if a pair of shorts found near the scene by a news crew may have been Harrouff’s.
“I’ve looked at the picture the camera crew gave us of those shorts, they do look very much like the ones you see in the video. Unfortunately, the camera crew for whatever reasons – maybe deadline – took a picture and called us. We went right out and the shorts were already gone.”
Harrouff remains in critical condition at St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach. Investigators are waiting for him to become more alert so they can question him.
After he reportedly killed the couple, Harrouff told deputies, “Test me. You won’t find any drugs.”
He tested negative for common street drugs like cocaine, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamine. The results of more extensive testing to determine whether he may have ingested bath salts or flakka are still pending.
Autopsy results show Michelle Stevens died from blunt force trauma injuries and John Stevens died from multiple injuries.
Harrouff will be charged with two counts of first-degree murder for the couple’s death, as well as attempted first-degree murder for the stabbing of the couple’s neighbor, Jeff Fisher, who suffered multiple wounds when he tried to intervene before calling 911.