It was a scene as creepy as a Hannibal Lecter movie.
One man was shot to death by Miami police, and another man is fighting for his life after he was attacked, and his face allegedly half eaten, by a naked man on the MacArthur Causeway off ramp Saturday, police said.
The horror began about 2 p.m. when a series of gunshots were heard on the ramp, which is along NE 13th Street, just south of The Miami Herald building.
According to police sources, a road ranger saw a naked man chewing on another man’s face and shouted on his loud speaker for him to back away.Meanwhile, a woman also saw the incident and flagged down a police officer who was in the area.
The officer, who has not been identified, approached and, seeing what was happening, also ordered the naked man to back away. When he continued the assault, the officer shot him, police sources said. The attacker failed to stop after being shot, forcing the officer to continue firing. Witnesses said they heard at least a half dozen shots.
Miami police were on the scene, which was just south of The Miami Herald building on Biscayne Boulevard. The naked man who was killed lay face down on the pedestrian walkway just below the newspaper’s two-story parking garage. Police have requested The Herald’s video surveillance tapes.
The other man was transported to the hospital with critical injuries, according to police. Their identities were not released.
The incident, which came as crowds descended upon South Beach for the annual Urban Beach Week hip-hop festival, snarled traffic on the causeway for several hours.
In a text message, Javier Ortiz, spokesman for Miami police’s Fraternal Order of Police, said the officer who fired the fatal shots was “a hero.”
“Based on the information provided, our Miami police officer is a hero and saved a life,’’ he said.
Sergeant Altarr Williams, supervisor of Miami police’s Homicide Unit, said a man doesn’t have to be armed to be dangerous.
“There are other ways to injure people,’’ Williams said. “Some people know martial arts, others are very strong and can kill you with their hands.’’
Investigators believe the victim may have been homeless and laying down when the crazed man pounced.
Police theorize the attacker might have been suffering from "cocaine psychosis," a drug-induced craze that bakes the body internally and often leads the affected to strip naked to try and cool off.
Miami Herald writers Alexandra Leon and Curtis Morgan contributed to this report.