Culture

Details Emerge On The 19-Year-Old FSU Student Who Brutally Killed A Florida Couple

On Tuesday morning, the country awoke to the horrific news that a middle-aged Florida couple had been found brutally murdered by a suspect — a young man initially who appeared to be in his early 20s — who was found gnawing on the face of the male victim when police arrived. The suspect has since been identified as 19-year-old Florida State University student Austin Kelly Harrouff, and the victims as 59-year-old John Stevens and 53-year-old Michelle Mishcon.

Authorities are still baffled as to the motive for the random attack. The chain of events leading up to the killings reportedly started just an hour earlier, shortly before 9 p.m. at Duffy’s Sports Grille in Jupiter, where the teen had been dining with family but apparently became agitated due to the slow service, storming out on his own. From there he walked 4 miles in the direction of his father’s house, but for unknown reasons turned one street too soon and encountered Stevens and Mishcon sitting in their garage, as they frequently did, according to friends and neighbors.

Harrouff was apparently unarmed when he initially approached the couple, but somehow things quickly escalated from there:

Stevens appeared to fight back, but Harrouff had “weapons of opportunity,” meaning items in the garage, at his disposal, Snyder said. He used multiple weapons to kill Mishcon and Stevens, Snyder said. A neighbor tried to intervene but was stabbed, too, and taken into surgery Monday night with “substantial trauma,” the sheriff said.

When Harrouff arrived at the hospital after the attack he was described as incoherent and making “animal-like noises,” but upon initial tests he was not found to have had drugs in his system and did not have a raised body temperature, which would suggest flakka use.

Harrouff is described by friends as “abnormally strong” at 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, but also as a gentle kid who “wouldn’t hurt a fly,” according to a member of his high-school football team. Other facts turned up by the Tallahassee Democrat provide no clues as to what could have triggered this awful tragedy.

  • He was interested in playing football in college, according to his statement on the National Collegiate Scouting Association’s website. He is not a member of the FSU football team.
  • At FSU, he was studying Exercise Science.
  • He previously lived on campus in the Rogers Hall dormitory, but university officials could not elaborate on whether he faced any disciplinary actions at FSU.
  • Multiple social media photos show him at the Heritage Grove house, a fraternity and sorority housing complex about a mile from the FSU Tallahassee campus.
  • He does not have any prior arrests in Florida and has had no run-ins with FSU campus police.

As the investigation continues, hopefully we’ll gain some insight as to how and why this gruesome crime took place. Below is the statement Martin County Sheriff William Snyder gave Tuesday to present all the known details of the case.

(Via Palm Beach Post, Tallahassee Democrat)

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