MIAMI – A witness says that the man who was shot and killed by police near Downtown Miami on Saturday was biting off parts of another man's face.
VIDEO: Witness describes attack
Police said the man bit off parts of the victim's cheek bone, ear, and nose. Officers said they couldn't take any chances because it appeared the attacker was enraged and that he ripped off his own clothes and refused orders to back off.
Surveillance video showed an officer approach the men underneath the metro mover rails. The officer took six steps, then quickly backs up and grabs his gun.
"When the officer approached him, told him to stop, pointed a gun at him. He turned around and growled like a wild animal and kept eating at the mans face," said Fraternal Order of Police President Armando Aguilar.
The officer on the scene believed the attacker was on drugs.
The victim was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital in critical condition.
The incident happened near the west end of the MacArthur Causeway and Biscayne Boulevard, near the Miami Herald building.
Larry Vega said he witnessed the attack.
"When I looked forward, there's a guy on top of another person, eating him up like, just tearing, tearing his face apart," said Vega. "It's going to take some time to forget. I never thought I would see someone else eating someone. It was really, really horrific."
He said there was blood everywhere, and that he couldn't make out the victim's face. Vega added that the attacker was pulling flesh from the victim's face and tossing it to the side.
"He was tearing it up and just throwing it away," said Vega.
Vega said the victim's legs were moving.
Vega also wrote to Local 10 on Saturday, saying, "I stopped a City of Miami police officer and informed him that a homeless man was killing another person by biting and ripping his face to death."
Vega also wrote, "The police officer confronted the aggressor, and he was like a rabid dog and confronted the officer. Then the officer shot the person four times."
Vegas said he may move his family out of South Florida after witnessing the incident.
The Miami Herald reports similar details: "The officer, who has not been identified, approached and saw that the naked man was actually chewing the other man's head, according to witnesses."
The Miami Police Department confirmed they shot one man after police tried to stop an assault.
"They attempted to separate them, there was some sort of confrontation," said Det. Willie Moreno of the Miami Police Department.
Police have not released the identities of the men or officers involved.