TAUNTON, Mass. — A Taunton man is accused of biting a gas station clerk twice in a bloody attack.
19-year-old Joel Davila smiled during his arraignment in Taunton District Court on Tuesday afternoon. He is facing charges of assault with intent to maim and mayhem. A judge ordered Davila held without bail and that he undergo a mental evaluation.
Davila reportedly told a witness, "I don't eat flesh, I just drink blood," as he licked the blood from his fingers following the brutal attack, police said in their report.
When a police officer told Davila he was looking for the victim’s missing flesh, Davila reportedly told police: "I think I ate it, you can cut my stomach open to check," according to police.
Witness Michael Keegan told Boston 25 News that he's never seen anything so sick and twisted.
Davila "hissed at me like a feral cat," said Keegan, who had stopped at the gas station to buy cigarettes when he saw the attack.
"It was really bizarre," Keegan said, recounting how part of the clerk's face was bitten off.
Davila "spit the piece on the floor and said, 'I don’t eat flesh. I drink blood.' And I'm like, 'Oh my God,'" Keegan said.
Store surveillance video shows Davila sinking his teeth into that clerk after the victim tried to prevent him from stealing a bottled drink from a cooler, according to the police report. The clerk put his arm across the door, preventing Davila from opening it, and Davila bit him.
Prosecutors say Davila bit the clerk in the face and on the elbow inside a Sunoco Gas station on 231 Broadway around 11:25 p.m. Monday.
When police officers arrived to the scene, they found the 55-year-old store clerk suffering from a serious gash below his left eye and bleeding profusely. The victim was taken to a Boston hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
Responding officers found Davlia sitting on the floor in an aisle inside the store. He was taken to a hospital for overnight evaluation and was arrested after his release on Tuesday morning.
Davila had been playing "finger paints" with the victim's blood "and licked it and put it all over" his face, Keegan said.
"I was like, 'Wow, you are out there. Woo hoo,'" Keegan said.
Keegan describes the attack as demented, but says he was determined to make sure Davila didn’t escape, and kept him in place while on the phone with 911.
He told Davila if he "took one more step toward me I was going to knock her teeth down her throat," said Keegan, who along with another witness kept Davila at the store until police arrived.
A police report described officers looking for the victim’s missing flesh at the bloody scene, to which Davila reportedly said: "I think I ate it, you can cut my stomach open to check.”
Police said Davila was known to the clerk and had allegedly stolen from the store before.
“The actions of the suspect represent an attack of an innocent worker just doing his job and trying to prevent the theft of merchandise from his place of employment,” Taunton Police Chief Edward Walsh said. “I would like to commend the good Samaritans who were in the store at the time and helped the victim while preventing this dangerous suspect from escaping and possibly harming others.”