GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. -- Gwinnett County police are warning about the
dangers of a new synthetic pot-like drug called bath salts after seeing
its effects first hand.
On June 14, they were called to the Atlanta Golf Center in Norcross
after the owner and witnesses said a man wielding a club stripped off
half his clothing, went swimming in a pond and ran off into the woods
Golfer Jeff Spruiell saw the entire incident.
"He wasn't even dressed to play golf. He was yelling 'I'm going to
eat you. I don't want to eat you. Tupac. Four'. He was very aggressive,"
Spruiell said. "When officers arrived they told him repeatedly to stop
where he was. I then heard him screaming."
Cpl. Jake Smith with the Gwinnett County Police Department said the
suspect, 21-year-old Karl Laventure of Alpharetta, later told them he
had smoked a joint with bath salts.
"He charged toward officers," saidSmith said. "They used pepper
spray, but he just wiped it out of his eyes and kept coming. We then
Tasered him a number of times, but each time the cycle ended, he would
jump back up."
Eventually officers got Laventure cuffed and took him to the hospital
where he had another outburst and had to be Tasered several more times.
"We're learning bath salts make people incoherent, but also
incredibly strong and aggressive," Cpl. Smith said. "It's a fine line
when we encounter that. We want to do everything we can not to harm a
suspect, but at the same time protect our officers and any bystanders."
Nationwide, there have been similar incidents of people high on bath
salts. Video has been posted online of suspects half clothed or
naked being combative and at the same time appearing to be in a
Drug agents have said bath salts are a growing problem for them. As
they identify one version of the lab grown drug, it can be changed so
that symptoms and behavior from it change, making it hard to identify.