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Flakka incidents reported in Bonne Terre

The Bonne Terre Police Department recently responded to two separate incidents that appear to be flakka-related.

Bonne Terre Police Chief Doug Calvert said on Saturday evening the brother of a man who overdosed on flakka in the past was arrested and then released to paramedics because he overdosed.

“The gentleman caused a disturbance at an apartment at 15 South West Main St. and was under the influence of drugs,” Calvert said. “He had to be released for medical care for an overdose. Then on Monday, at the same apartment, his brother went berserk and tore up the apartment. Fortunately, someone was smart enough to open the door this time, so no one dove out of a window.”

Calvert said the man took off running from the apartment. He said at the same time they received another call about a suspicious person by RB’s Western Package yelling and screaming.

“His description happened to (match) the same one of the guy who caused a disturbance and jumped out of the back door at the South West Main apartment,” Calvert said. “How he made it down to RB’s that fast, again, I don’t know, but apparently when they are on (flakka) they can run faster than a sprinter.”

Calvert said a couple officers remained at the apartment and he and another officer went to investigate the man who was screaming downtown. Once they arrived at the liquor store they discovered it was the man who caused the disturbance on South West Main Street.

“He was confronted by officers and we also spoke to some of the people in the area,” Calvert said. “When I arrived and the other officer who was with me, the man was staring at the sky, yelling and screaming, and he was hollering and screaming at inanimate objects like poles, businesses and buildings.”

Calvert said the man attempted to go into the liquor store and the owner happened to be there so the owner threw the man out and locked the door, for fear of injury to himself. Calvert added when they confronted the man, he appeared to show the signs of being under the influence of flakka.

“We approached and took a tactical stance because we didn’t know if he was armed,” Calvert said. “His hands were in the air and then he took a fighting stance with hands and clenched his fists. His eyes were bulging out of his head. He was screaming/hollering and threatening violence, some of it was unintelligible.”

Calvert said the man was given several commands to lie down on the ground to be handcuffed and cooperate. Calvert said the man threatened to kill everybody and was out of his head.

“From past references, it took six of us to hold the last one down,” Calvert said. “He wouldn’t cooperate and with only two of us there, he was tased. We didn’t know if tasing would even work on some of those drugs, but the taser was effective enough to get him to the ground and handcuffed.”

Calvert said emergency medical services were called and the man was transported to Parkland Health Center North for treatment. He had to be handcuffed to the gurney and an officer had to ride with them.

“It wasn’t near as bad as the last time and the guy from the last flakka incident is his brother,” Calvert said. “The brother, the same one, caused the disturbance Saturday night but the jail would not take him because they ruled him an overdose. Under the Good Samaritan law, they can’t be charged with any of the crimes.”

Calvert said the man was not injured as a result of the tasing or by them, but he had injuries on his hands prior to their arrival.

“We don’t know what he confronted or what he did, but the apartment was tore up pretty bad,” Calvert said. “He wasn’t treated for any wounds or for the tasing. It was the least aggressive thing we could do to get him under control. Otherwise it would have taken several of us to hold him down. He was displaying superhuman strength with the way his muscles were clenching before we tased him.”

Calvert said the man was a danger to officers, the public and himself. 

“We had no choice but to tase him, one time,” Calvert said. “It took it out of him enough for us to get to him and handcuff him. Once the ambulance crew arrived and we loaded him on the cot, they started pumping medicine in him which took most of the fight out of him.”

Calvert said they took him to the hospital and gave him other drugs and wasn’t sure what came back on blood test. He said they tried interviewing him and he admitted to using some sort of a substance he believed to methamphetamine.

“He was pretty out of it, but he said he shot it into his arm,” Calvert said. “We did take a used syringe and a pipe, which will be sent off for testing. They are using so many designer drugs out here now and mixing so many different things that you don’t know what you are taking. It’s not like it used to be. You don’t know what is in it anymore. Any drug they buy, other than in a pharmacy you don’t know what you are getting.”

Calvert said he has been in law enforcement for 27 years and has seen things on the streets recently that he has never witnessed before.

“Whatever he was looking at, he thought we were some sort of dragons or monsters or something, which is also concurrent with the use of flakka,” Calvert said. “The praying was consistent with the last flakka case and was screaming prayer outloud …

“From the look in his eyes, whatever he was seeing was something you wouldn’t normally see under the influence of other drugs,” Calvert said. “I don’t know what they see, but the classes we are taking on flakka indicate they will attack vehicles and perceive them as monsters. They go from fear to euphoria.”

Renee Bronaugh is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3617 or rbronaugh@dailyjournalonline.com

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