Excited Delirium and the non LE/First Responder

A few years back I gave a presentation at the first Paul-E-Palooza  on the subject of Excited Delirium (aka ExD).  I was a bit surprised by the level of interest in that class since the students turned out to be mainly non LE or medical folks (my normal audience for such training).  I had only thought to provide the class due to the request of “The People’s Dentist” Dr. Sherman House (one of Paul’s long time and dear friends), and another of Paul’s friends William Aprill, telling me that Paul was very interested in the subject of ExD before he passed away.

I had been providing training on the subject of ExD for many years after being forced into learning something about the it by the combined problems of; 1. Lack of any available information, and 2. My department suffering an in-custody death in the ealry ’90s due to an ExD incident.  As I noted, this training had been almost totally geared towards a law enforcement and first responder student base due to the nature of the problem.

While recently looking over my class material in preparation for the upcoming Rangemaster Tactical Conference, where I will be presenting this class again at the request of Tom Givens, I took note of the following news story on the web;

Suspect gouges baby’s eyes

La Plata, MD – La Plata Chief of Police Carl Schinner said Jan. 15 that alert police work and the help of citizens helped apprehend a 27-year-old man high on PCP (phencyclidine) who tried to gouge out the eyes of a 2-year-old girl.

The suspect, James Ronald Lee, is being held on $500,000 bond.

Schinner said that at 1:40 p.m. Monday, Jan. 12, a La Plata officer on routine patrol in the area of Charles Street and Crain Highway (Route 301) observed a man assaulting a woman.

Police reported that several citizens stopped their cars and were holding the suspect on the ground when the officer arrived.

The officer’s investigation determined that the suspect entered the vehicle of a neighbor in the 100 block of Kalmia Court and asked her to drive him to the Charles County Sheriff’s Office because someone was trying to kill him.

He also told her he had ingested PCP.

While en route to the sheriff’s office, the suspect left the front seat of the vehicle and began to “actively assault” a 2-year-old female child in the back seat.

Witnesses reported that the man was attempting to gouge out the child’s eyes.

When the mother tried to intervene, the suspect began assaulting her as well as another citizen who stopped to render aid to the mother and child.

The child was transported to Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. for treatment of facial and eye injuries.

The citizen who sought to help and the mother were transported to Charles Regional Medical Center in La Plata where they were treated and released.

Lee was transported to a medical facility where he is being treated for a drug overdose. Police have obtained an arrest warrant.

Schinner said that Charles County State’s Attorney Tony Covington is considering felony charges in the case.

“The girl was released from the hospital yesterday,” Schinner said, adding that in time she is expected to fully recover from her injuries.

A fund has been set up to help the mother defray medical costs. As of this writing more than $3,655 has been donated.

To help contribute, go to www.gofundme.com/k5m1us.

Schinner noted that PCP is “not something we see a lot these days.”

PCP, a horse tranquilizer, is noted for evoking violent tendencies and abnormal strength in those who abuse the substance. Just last week, a man high on PCP shucked his clothes at a Waldorf gas station and began assaulting patrons. In 1982, two men high on PCP violently raped and murdered Stephanie Roper in St. Mary’s County.

Contact Joseph Norris at [email protected]


I noted in reading this news story a number of glaring indicators of an ExD incident, including the attacker’s behavior, the use of PCP, etc.  This would obviously be a case where a non-first responder would find useful some information on recognizing ExD and how to respond to such an incident.

In this case, with my knowledge of both ExD and the laws of self defense, I believe had I been on scene this might have quickly escalated into a deadly force incident in order to stop injury to the child.


While I believe it is professionally negligent for anyone in a first responder status to not have training in recognizing and correctly handling ExD incidents, it appears more and more common that average folks are finding themselves caught up in incidents where knowledge of ExD would be useful.