Friend of FSU Frat Brother Accused of Trying to Eat Stabbing Victim's Face Says Suspect 'Isn't Himself Now'
A man who claims to be friends with Austin Harrouff says the alleged crime made his "stomach turn"
The 19-year-old Florida State University student accused of stabbing a couple to death and trying to eat one victim’s face was once a “kind-hearted” kid but isn’t himself now, a friend of the teen tells PEOPLE.
A man who says he went to high school with Austin Harrouff, the teen arrested in the gruesome attack, tells PEOPLE that Harrouff lost his way after graduating and began to “play with some things he shouldn’t have.”
“Austin is a good kid. People always make mistakes in college and have fun,” the man, who asked to remain anonymous, tells PEOPLE. “Whatever happened isn’t Austin. He isn’t himself now.”
Harrouff, a rising sophomore at FSU, allegedly stabbed John Stevens III, 59, and Michelle Mishcon, 53, repeatedly on Monday night as the couple sat in their garage with the door open, Martin County Sheriff William Snyder told PEOPLE.
Police arrived at the scene to find Harrouff allegedly trying to bite chunks off of Stevens’ face in the garage of the couple’s Tequesta home, Snyder said.
“The suspect was on top of our victim, clutching him in a bear hug and biting him in the face,” Snyder said, calling the incident a “random” and “unprovoked” attack. “It was an impossible task to get him off of the victim.”
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The source says hearing about his friend’s alleged crime made his “stomach turn.”
“Austin is a super kind-hearted kid,” the friend tells PEOPLE. “Whatever happened, isn’t him.”
Snyder said he “would not be surprised” if Harrouff, who was “heavily sedated” in a hospital on Tuesday, was under the influence of flakka – a psychoactive stimulant that has been linked to bizarre behavior and drug overdoses – at the time of the attack.
Snyder said that toxicology reports ruled out cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine, but added that Harrouff allegedly showed signs of “excited delirium.”
Harrouff has been charged with aggravated battery and will be charged with home invasion and two counts of murder.
Police have not determined a motive for the alleged attack, Snyder said.
“What pushed our Florida State student into this? We do not know,” Snyder said at a Tuesday press conference.