Man receives 64 staples after stabbing attack in Martin County

Jeff Fisher, 47, injured while attempting to help neighbors fend off FSU student

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. – A Martin County man received 64 staples after he was stabbed last week while trying to help his neighbors, who were attacked inside their garage.

Jeff Fisher, 47, was released from the hospital days after the Aug. 15 incident, but he is still on the road to recovery.

Fisher's father told Local 10 News that his son underwent an MRI on Monday and doctors said bleeding in his brain is under control.

Steven Fisher said his son has another MRI scheduled for Thursday that will determine whether doctors can begin removing the staples.

Martin County Sheriff's Office deputies said Florida State University student Austin Harrouff, 19, was in town visiting his parents when the attack occurred.

Sheriff William Snyder said Harrouff got angry with his father while they were at a Duffy's restaurant in Jupiter and then attacked Michelle Mishcon Stevens, 53, and her husband, John Stevens, 59, while they were in their garage.

Snyder said Fisher heard screams and tried to help the couple, but he was also stabbed.

"The complainant walked across the street to check on the female. The male that was beating up the female stabbed the complainant in the back with a knife a couple times," a deputy said over the police radio that night. "The complainant that called this in advises the female across the street that was involved in the domestic is possibly unconscious."

Deputies said Harrouff was chewing on Stevens' face when they arrived. Snyder said he was so "tangled" with the victim, almost like an "MMA hold."

The couple was pronounced dead at the scene.

Harrouff and Fisher were taken to St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach, where Harrouff remains hospitalized.

Snyder said Harrouff's thumb was nearly severed, which is consistent with his hand slipping down the knife after he stabbed one of the victims.

Snyder said Harrouff may have ingested "caustic" chemicals from the couple's garage.

"It's a typical garage, so there are solvents," Snyder said. "There were things he could have consumed and that first night at the hospital, the hospital speculated based on what they were seeing in his body fluids, that perhaps he had ingested something caustic from the garage."

Snyder told Local 10 News reporter Ian Margol that deputies recovered a bottle of clear liquid from the scene that was not labeled. It has been sent to a lab for identification.

He said Harrouff showed signs and symptoms that he had ingested a caustic substance.

Deputies contemplated using deadly force, but were afraid that the bullet would go through Harrouff and into Stevens, the sheriff said.

Blood tests have been sent to the FBI to determine whether Harrouff was under the influence of synthetic drugs like flakka or bath salts. He tested negative for street drugs, which include drugs like marijuana and cocaine.

Authorities said Harrouff will be arrested upon being released from the hospital and charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, armed burglary and resisting an officer without violence.

Snyder said Harrouff has not yet been questioned by detectives. At last check, he was stable but had a breathing tube and was unable to speak.

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