AUSTIN (KXAN) - Austin police have arrested a man they said was high on bath salts when he attacked an EMS worker on Friday.
Giovanni Leask, 18, is charged with assault on a public servant after being accused of kicking an ambulance worker called to help someone who appeared to be under the influence of drugs.
Someone called police to report a verbally abusive man who had jumped off the Lamar Boulevard Bridge over Lady Bird Lake around 1:15 p.m. and then swam to the south shoreline and left the water.
"The male appeared to be under the influence of some drugs and had proceeded to strip off his shirt and then later his pants as he ran down the hike and bike trail going East," the caller said.
Austin police officers A. Cruz and J. Kirkpatrick were sent to detain Leask because it is against city ordinance to jump off any bridge.
"I attempted to speak with the man, but he continued to talk about being 'God' and then later say that he was the ‘devil,'" Kirkpatrick said in an arrest warrant released Tuesday.
"He would also say that we were angels but then continue to say that we weren't angels and that he just wanted us to kill him."
Kirkpatrick called EMS to treat Leask for being under the influence of bath salts, which are hallucinogens that raise blood pressure and cause people under the influence to react in extreme ways.
Warren Hassinger, a spokesman for Austin-Travis County EMS, said that over the last year the agencyhas responded to several calls involving people suspected of being intoxicated with bath salts.
"All of the documented interactions have involved aggressive or violent behavior," Hassinger said. "The treatment that EMS provides to patients suspected of intoxication with bath salts is similar to the treatment provided to patients who have overdosed on cocaine and methamphetamines."
Paramedic have received increased training on "safely managing combative patients," he said
"We have seen two patients in the last six months that have an EMS documented use of bath salts," Hassinger said. "However between August 10 and September 20 of 2011 EMS treated half a dozen patients who expressly stated that they "shot up" or snorted bath salts."
In Friday's case, paramedics put Leask on a stretcher, which is when officials said he started getting violent. He allegedly began kicking the paramedics while they tried to restrain him.
The ambulance worker was kicked in the throat and was taken to University Medical Center Brackenridge. Her condition was serious but not life-threatening.
Attacking a public servant is a third-degree felony.
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