Bangor man on bath salts destroys bathrooms of relative, injuring himself badly

Posted Oct. 20, 2011, at 10:49 a.m.
Last modified Oct. 20, 2011, at 11:41 a.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Police found a Juniper Street house filled with blood spatter and pools of blood after a 22-year-old man on bath salts destroyed the two bathrooms inside, cutting himself badly in the process, Bangor police Sgt. Paul Edwards said.

Benjamin Hatfield, 22, who was involved in the 2010 street fight that ended with the shooting death of 19-year-old John “Bobby” Surles, was found by police on Wednesday sitting shirtless on the front steps of his relative’s house, nursing several deep wounds.

Officers Jason Linkletter and Joshua Kuhn described Hatfield as “distraught, freaking out, paranoid, delusional, and unable to describe how he was cut so badly,” Edwards said.

Hatfield’s symptoms are typical of bath salt consumers.

“He was just giving several different stories” about how he got cut, the sergeant said later, adding none of his versions mentioned that he damaged the bathrooms.

The residence is occupied by a relative of Hatfield who called police at around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday telling officers that she wanted him out. She told police he had destroyed her two bathrooms and had locked himself inside one.

The officers described the bathrooms as destroyed. The upstairs toilet had “water running through the floor and into [the] downstairs ceiling” and “broken glass piled so high that it made it difficult to open the door.”

There also was “blood spatter and pools of blood throughout the entire home,” Edwards said.

Hatfield has come to the attention of police in the last few months after they responded to several incidents involving him acting strangely, the sergeant said.

“Recently we’ve had dealings with him indicating he might be abusing bath salts but we weren’t sure,” Edwards said. Police collected baggies and a white powdered substance they said they believed to be bath salts as evidence.

Hatfield was taken to the emergency room at Eastern Maine Medical Center for treatment of his wounds and was charged with possession of a synthetic hallucinogenic drug. He is scheduled to be in court on Dec. 7. Hatfield also may face an additional charge of aggravated criminal mischief because the bathroom damage easily exceeded the $1,000 threshold, Edwards said.

“He’s probably one of the youngest cases we’ve seen” involving bath salts, the sergeant said.

The average bath salt user’s age is 35, but Bangor police Chief Ron Gastia has been warning parents to educate themselves about the lab-made designer drug because illegal drugs used by adults always work their way down to youths.

Hatfield testified in the March murder trial of Zachary Carr that he was involved in the Cumberland Street fight and saw Carr and a 17-year-old boy carrying guns just before his friend Surles was shot on Jan. 27, 2010. Surles died the next day at Eastern Maine Medical Center.

Carr, now 20, was found guilty of murder and not guilty of manslaughter by a Penobscot County jury in March and is scheduled to be sentenced in December. He faces a minimum of 25 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life.

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