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Multiple Overdoses Connected To Man Handing Out Free Heroin

CHICAGO (CBS) -- It's an offer some couldn't pass up: free heroin. A bad batch is being passed out on Chicago's South Side, but minutes later people were dropping to the ground, overdosing.

While the victims may be drug users, if the dealer knows what he is handing out is too powerful or lethal, then police will go after him. In a matter of days the Chicago Police Department was called to several overdoses connected to one pusher near the intersection of 79th and Halsted in Auburn Gresham.

"They just kept dropping like flies," said Phillip Moore.

Thursday morning as he walked to get a coffee he couldn't believe what he spotted.

"It was very devastating. It was heartbreaking. Yes sir, it was because it was the first time I ever witnessed something like that," he said.

Video, which is hard to watch, shows three people overdosing on the street at the same time. Chicago police say the overdoses are connected to one man who passes out free heroin to users along 79th Street.

"Because this right here that happened at 79th and Halsted, it wasn't right," Moore said.

Those overdoses continued Friday morning. One man injured himself as his body went into shock. Some in the neighborhood jumped in to calm the man until paramedics arrived.

All of this happened within a block of the District Six police station, and now detectives are trying to figure out if the person offering free heroin is aware people are overdosing.

"If these people were distributing drugs with the intent people would be killed they could easily be charged with attempted murder," said CBS 2 Legal Analyst Irv Miller.

He said the law allows police to go after the person no matter the intent.

"It's not a typical charge. It doesn't happen all that often, but it does happen. People get charged, they get convicted, and they go to the penitentiary," he said.

None of the people died from the overdoses, but the fear is if this person keeps passing out the bad batch it could turn deadly.

"Honestly I just say y'all brother are wrong for doing that, whoever's doing it," said Moore.

Neighbors tell CBS 2's Jermont Terry the person offering the free drugs wasn't known to anyone in that neighborhood.

Chicago police ask anyone with information on who's behind the bad batch to call them, which can be done anonymously.

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