DELRAY BEACH — A 6-foot-3, 250-pound naked man died after being shot by a Palm Beach County sheriff’s sergeant when he attacked a former New York City police officer, chased a man and his young son and bit a man on the face.
Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said at a Tuesday night news conference that the man later died at a hospital but it wasn’t immediately clear whether he died from gunshot wounds or from a medical condition.
According to Bradshaw, the man was walking on a street in Delray Beach when, for no apparent reason, he attacked the 66-year-old retired officer. The man continued down the street, where he chased a man and his 10-year-old son near the entrance to a gated community.
Bradshaw said the man then started fighting with an 18-year-old man, who defended himself with a box cutter. The man bit the 18-year-old on the face.
“The 18-year-old thought he was trying to eat his face off,” Bradshaw said.
“The people that he assaulted, starting with the retired NYPD guy, the people that he chased and then the 18-year-old, said this guy had like super human strength,” the sheriff said. “But he’s a big guy to start with. He’s not fat, he looks like an NFL linebacker. And he basically was terrorizing people all up and down this street.”
Deputies arrived and tried to calm the man down. They used a stun gun, but the man kept going.
“He takes a fighting stance. They’re trying to get him on the ground. He starts charging them,” Bradshaw said.
That’s when a sergeant fired three times, once to the torso and twice on the lower part of the body. The man was taken to Delray Medical Center, where he died.
The injured police officer and the teen were also taken to the hospital. Their conditions were not available. Bradshaw said the 10-year-old boy injured himself trying to go under the gate to get away from the man.
The sheriff said investigators are trying to figure out the man’s identity and to get some background information on about him.
Bradshaw said the man was “obviously on some kind of narcotics to act like this.”
“The deputies had to do what they had to do to disable this guy so he didn’t get into this gated community and wreak havoc in there,” Bradshaw said.
The incident is reminiscent of a 2012 attack in Miami in which a naked man attacked a homeless man and chewed off much of his face. The man, Rudy Eugene, was shot and killed by a Miami police officer. Witnesses said he had been swinging from a light pole minutes before the attack. Lab tests found only marijuana in his system.
The victim in the Miami attack, Ronald Poppo, lost his left eye, his nose and most of the surrounding skin.