80ºF

FSU student found biting victim's face during unprovoked attack, sheriff says

Former North Miami Beach mayor's daughter among 2 fatally stabbed near Tequesta

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. – A college student accused of fatally stabbing a married couple after deputies found him biting a man's face during an attack late Monday night in Martin County didn't know his victims, Sheriff William Snyder said.

Snyder identified the suspect as Austin Harrouff, a 19-year-old Florida State University student who was home for the summer. He said Harrouff may have been on drugs when he attacked the couple in their home, as well as a neighbor who tried to stop him.

Martin County Sheriff's Office deputies found the suspect on top of the husband, biting and removing pieces of the victim's face with his teeth when they arrived.

The first deputy who arrived tried to stop Harrouff with a Taser gun, but that didn't stop him, Snyder said. More deputies were called and eventually overpowered him.

A neighbor tried to help but was stabbed by Harrouff, Snyder said.

Local 10 News in Miami spoke to the neighbor's father, who said his son, Jeff Fisher, 47, was walking his dog when he heard a commotion in the couple's garage, saw the suspect attacking them and confronted him.

"He was laying on the floor, bleeding pretty badly," Steve Fisher said of his son.

Jeff Fisher was taken to St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach. He was being treated for serious injuries but was expected to survive.

The man whose face was bitten died at the scene.

Deputies also found a woman's body inside of the garage of the home. Former North Miami Beach Mayor Jeff Mishcon told Local 10 News that the victim is his daughter, Michelle Stevens.

Stevens was a 1981 graduate of North Miami Beach Senior High School. Her husband, Jeff Stevens, graduated from Miami Killian Senior High School.

Mishcon was barely able to speak after the death of his eldest daughter. Patricia A. Mishcon Athletic Field in North Miami Beach is named after Mishcon's wife, who died of a heart attack in 1997.

Snyder said it appeared that the victims were attacked in their garage. He said it appeared to be a "completely unprovoked and random attack."

Harrouff, who lived with his mother a few blocks away, was in town with his fraternity brothers, Snyder said.

"He doesn't have a past (criminal history)," Snyder said.

Harrouff was taken to a Palm Beach County hospital. Snyder said his condition has deteriorated, and he doesn't know if Harrouff will survive.

Snyder said Harrouff did not have any stab wounds, but he may have ingested something that caused an intestinal issue.

"The hospital says he is in grave condition," Snyder said.

Snyder said Harrouff had been at a Duffy's restaurant in Jupiter with his parents earlier that evening when he became upset about the service and walked away. The sheriff said Harrouff was "making animal-like sounds" at the hospital.

He described Harrouff's strength as super human. The sheriff said it took three to four deputies and a K-9 unit to ultimately subdue him.


About the Authors: