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Face-biting killer: Florida deputy describes efforts to control accused murderer

Posted at 3:19 PM, Feb 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-07 13:13:10-05

It’s a case first responders in Martin County still consider one of the most horrific crimes they have seen.

On Aug. 15, 2016, first responding deputies laid eyes on accused killer Austin Harrouff attacking John Stevens and his wife Michelle Mishcon at their house.

Deputies arrived at the home shortly after the couple’s neighbor, Jeff Fisher, tried to intervene and help the couple.

One of the first deputies on scene, Wayne Trocan, describes quickly walking up to a gruesome sight. “I saw a huge giant trail of blood, probably 8 feet wide.”

He then saw his fellow deputy, Grace Zopf.

“Grace was standing right here pointing her gun to the ground,” Trocan said.

The deputy explained to investigators with the Martin County Sheriff’s Office that he told Zopf not to shoot.

“Grace said, 'I’m going to shoot him.' Based on the angle I saw I said, 'stop.' There was no good shot, it would have went into him, the victim," Trocan said.

Trocan described Harrouff’s stronghold on Stevens. “He had his legs intertwined, his arm wrapped around him. He had his fingers like a fish hook in his mouth trying to pull his cheek apart. He was growling.”

Trocan said he and fellow law enforcement officers tried everything they could to get Harrouff off of Stevens. He deployed his Taser, which was ineffective. Harrouff, Trocan said, was also unfazed by a K-9. 

"The dog grabbed him arm and pulled it off [of Stevens]. The suspect ripped it out of the dog's mouth and went in for a deeper hold,” Trocan said.

Trocan then started stomping or kicking Harrouff’s face to try to get him to stop attacking Stevens.

“I kicked him in the head. His head came off for a second and then he went right back in and took a deeper grapple hold,” Trocan said.

Trocan said he might have kicked Harrouff more than 10 times before Harrouff flung his arm back, and deputies were able to get a handcuff on his wrist and drag him away.

“As I finally was pulling him off of him, he was screaming, 'Kill me! I’m eating people, kill me!' Very loud,” Trocan said.

The deputy also described finding multiple potential weapons at the scene, including a knife underneath Stevens' arm, scissors on the driveway and a screwdriver in the garage.

Harrouff is facing first-degree murder charges for the deaths of Stevens and Mishcon, and attempted murder for the attack on Fisher.