"Someone please call my sister," Leroy Strothers yelled out as he stood naked and armed on a building rooftop last Friday. "I feel delusional, and I'm hallucinating!"
As New Times first reported on Friday, Strothers was spotted naked and armed with a handgun on an apartment building rooftop located at 1709 S. Federal Highway in Lake Worth. At one point, he allegedly threatened to harm himself and anyone else if he was approached.
The Palm Beach Sheriff's Office SWAT team was eventually called in and was successfully able to negotiate Strothers off the roof before he could harm himself or others. When interviewed by police following his arrest, Strothers, age 33, said he was depressed and claimed to be under the influence of a new designer street drug called "flakka."
Police responded to a call at just before 1 p.m. Friday of a suspicious-looking person standing on the roof and yelling that someone was trying to kill him. When the responding officers made contact with Strothers, he kept asking them to find his sister, according to the Palm Beach Sheriff's Office arrest report.
According to the report, when Strothers saw the responding officers first approaching the building, he placed the Smith & Wesson semiautomatic pistol he was armed with to his head and pulled the trigger. After his unsuccessful suicide attempt, Strothers began telling the officers he needed to speak with his sister, Leanne. He told them he was depressed because the mother of his child was cheating on him and wouldn't "come clean."
He also told the officers that he was under the influence of flakka, a designer drug that is vaped with an e-cigarette (not to be confused with "Budder," another designer street drug which is a wax form of marijuana). Flakka is made with similar ingredients used to make bath salts, the recreational designer drug that's made headlines recently and is linked to dangerous hallucinations and maybe even responsible for the face-eating incident in Miami, though that's still being debated.
Flakka, or "Gravel," which is an a-PVP (or, methylenedioxypyrovalerone) -- a hodgepodge mix of chemicals, like sort of a cross between crack cocaine and meth -- is becoming widely popular throughout South Florida. It's cheap, easy to get and reportedly induces behavior in smokers similar to that of meth.
Police have not confirmed if Strothers was on flakka, but he says he was. When PBSO SWAT was able to calm him down and talk him off the roof, Smothers was arrested and transported to JFK Hospital by Palm Beach Fire Rescue for evaluation.
When officers recovered the gun, they found that it was loaded with eight bullets. Police also found a bullet casing on the roof. Some witnesses had reported on social media seeing Strothers firing the gun into the air before police arrived.
Strothers, who admitted to having a prior record for drug-related felonies, was charged with possession of a firearm by a felon and discharging a firearm in public.