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Fears of grisly drug-fueled violence grip Miami

08 june 2012, 11:28
Photo courtesy of 2010vancouver.cf
Photo courtesy of 2010vancouver.cf
Miami area police on Wednesday issued a warning about violent homeless men after one threatened to eat two officers, amid fears about a powerful drug also linked to a grisly face-eating attack in the city, AFP reports.

Brandon De Leon was taken into custody in the US city of North Miami Beach on Saturday after he entered a restaurant yelling obscenities and initially resisted arrest, police said.

On the way to the station he slammed his head against the police car protective barrier, shouting to the officers, "I'm going to eat you."

Later, he growled and grunted like an animal, and tried to bite an officer's hand, police said, prompting them to fit him with a bite mask.

The case "bears resemblance to an incident that occurred in the city of Miami last week, when a male ate another man's face," a police memo to officers warned.

"Please be careful when dealing with the homeless population during your patrols."

De Leon, 21, who tested positive for marijuana, Xanax and alcohol, also told authorities he was on a drug called "Cloud Nine" -- apparently a type of "bath salts," a drug which Miami police have linked to the face-mauling case.

In that case, which some media reports have dubbed the "zombie" attack, a nude assailant almost killed another man by trying to bite his face off. The aggressor, Rudy Eugene, 31, was shot dead by police.

The homeless victim, who also was naked during the attack, remains hospitalized and fighting for his life.

Television footage and news photos have shown the two men sprawled on the sidewalk side by side, with the victim barely conscious and covered in blood with up to 75 percent of his face ripped off.

Police initially said the attack could have been sparked by an overdose of a powerful new form of LSD mixed along with "cocaine psychosis."

Later they suggested Eugene was likely under the influence of the synthetic stimulant "bath salts", which produces an often aggressive, chaotic experience for users, coupled with intense hallucinations.

Eugene's girlfriend, who asked not to be identified, told The Miami Herald that the man who carried out the attack bore no resemblance to the gentle man she was dating, and surmised Eugene might have unwittingly been under the influence of drugs.

"The only other explanation was supernatural -- that someone put a voodoo curse on him," the woman told the daily of Eugene, who is of Haitian descent.

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