A Miami cop has been hailed as a hero for fatally shooting a naked, crazed man who refused orders to stop chewing on the face of another nude man.
Officials said the courageous officer saved the victim from being killed, but the growling culprit left the man’s face mauled beyond recognition.
“Based on the information provided, our Miami police officer is a hero and saved a life,” Javier Ortiz, spokesman for Miami police’s Fraternal Order of Police told the Miami Herald.
Detectives are still trying to identify the victim, believed to be a homeless man, and his flesh-eating attacker.
The critically injured victim is being treated in the intensive care unit of the Ryder Trauma Centre in Miami.
Police sources told CBS Miami that the victim’s entire face was eaten in the attack.
The man kept biting the victim’s face even after being shot once, prompting the officer to unleash a deadly barrage of gunfire to stop the savage attack.
The shooting happened within feet of Memorial Day weekend traffic zooming by on the MacArthur Causeway, which connects downtown Miami to South Beach.
Sgt Altarr Williams, of the Miami police’s homicide unit, said the suspect was not armed, but that did not make him any less dangerous. “There are other ways to injure people,” Williams said. “Some people know martial arts, others are very strong and can kill you with their hands.”
The bizarre encounter unfolded at 2 p.m. Saturday on a pedestrian walkway alongside the bustling six-lane MacArthur Causeway.
Police said a woman witnessed the two naked men fighting and flagged down the cop.
Another witness, Larry Vega, told local news station WSVN that the attacker was "tearing [the victim] to pieces with his mouth".
The attacker “kept eating the other guy”, Vega said.
After spotting the suspect on top of the victim — chewing at his face — the officer used a loudspeaker to order the attacker to stop and back away from the injured man, police said.
When the suspect ignored repeated orders, the cop opened fire, officials said.
Part of the confrontation involving the cop was caught on security cameras outside the nearby Miami Herald building.
The video also shows the bare legs and feet of both men sprawled on the walkway, the victim flailing his legs in apparent pain.
Cops did not reveal if detectives have determined why the men were both naked.
Police sources theorize that the attacker could have been in the throes of “cocaine psychosis”.
But officials said they won’t know if the nude attacker was under the influence of drugs until an autopsy and toxicology exam are completed.
“As with all active investigations, there are many details that cannot be discussed until we have gathered all the facts,” the police department said in a statement.