May 31st, 2012
11:10 AM ET

Face-attack suspect's mother: My son 'was no zombie'

The mother of Rudy Eugene, who was shot and killed by a police officer as he chewed the face off a homeless man in Miami, says her son was "a nice kid" who could have been subdued with a Taser rather than gunfire.

"He was a good kid. He gave me a nice card on Mother’s Day. Everyone says he was a zombie. He was no zombie. That was my son,” the mother, who asked that her name not be revealed, told CNN affliate WFOR.

'Zombie apocalypse' trending as bad news spreads quickly

Eugene, 31, was killed by a police officer on Saturday after an 18-minute attack on a homeless man, identified by police as 65-year-old Ronald Poppo. Video of the incident shows Eugene coming across Poppo on a sidewalk along Miami's MacArthur Causeway, stripping clothes off him and eventually chewing on his face.

Police said Poppo lost 75% of his face in the attack. He was in critical condition at a Miami hospital.

Eugene's mother said police didn't need to shoot her son.

"They could have tased him," she told WFOR. "I saw what happened on TV and I started crying.”

Eugene's girlfriend, who also requested anonymity from WFOR, said the attacker seen in that video was nothing like the man she lived with.

“He loved God. He always read the Bible. He would give you knowledge on the Bible. Everywhere he went his Bible went. When he left he had his Bible in his hand,” the girlfriend is quoted as saying.

“That wasn’t him, that was his body but it wasn’t his spirit.  Somebody did this to him,” WFOR quotes her as saying.

Fraternal Order of Police President Armando Aguilar told CNN affiliate WPLG that he suspects Eugene was under the influence of "bath salts," a drug that contains synthetic stimulants that can "cause chest pains, increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, agitation, hallucinations, extreme paranoia, and delusions," according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse.

"He was a nice, outgoing, ready-to-help-anybody kind of guy," Cassandra Metayer, a high school friend of Eugene's, told WFOR. “Someone in their right mind doesn’t do that. This is not the act of a normal person. It has to be someone under the influence."

Sgt. Javier Ortiz, vice president of the Miami Fraternal Order of Police, said officials won't know for certain whether drugs played a role in the attack until toxicology reports are completed in a month or so. But he said police have been seeing increased incidents of drug-induced crime in the area.

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Filed under: Crime • Drugs • Florida
soundoff (1,699 Responses)
  1. Ben

    No, he was an animal and was not qualified to be a zombie until after the police took care of him after the attack.

    June 7, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Fab

    This man was demon possessed during this attack. Drugs carry spiritual consequences and allow access via evil spirits – drugs are just another form of witchcraft.

    Mankind has an enemy whose only purpose is to steal, kill and destroy – you've now clearly seen him in action. So many people deny that the devil is real out of fear, and that works to his advantage.

    June 10, 2012 at 6:32 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Zumbee's

      ...Brains....BRAAIINNNSSS!!!!! nom nom nom nom

      June 11, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kenny Gee

      Why do people always have to assume some supernatural force causes people to do horrible things...some people are just plain horrible. Your "reasoning" just makes it easier for people to stomach, but the truth is its a ludicrous distortion of the truth that does nothing but give a false sense of explanation to the situation while simultaneously absolving the attacker from responsibility. Some people are just horrible, this guy is one of them...period.

      June 12, 2012 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
  3. Yakima Belle

    He was a good boy; a true humanitarian, just like Alferd Packer.

    June 14, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. M Johnson

    “He loved God. He always read the Bible. He would give you knowledge on the Bible. Everywhere he went his Bible went. When he left he had his Bible in his hand,” the girlfriend is quoted as saying. .......... And there's the problem. Religion is bad.

    June 22, 2012 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. patrick

    We all know that he wasnt a zombie lady, your son was just plain ole' NUTS!!....Chewing another human beings face off ......man, i still cant get my head around that! How absolutely barbaric ! At least when bath salts were questioned, he had some sort of an excuse, but now when it appears to be just pot, it furthers my point, he was just NUTS!!! or POSSESSED . And to think that the cops should have just tazed him, my clip would have been emptied...then reloaded and emptied again! Whatever the reason, iam glad the guy is dead and gone.!

    June 28, 2012 at 11:16 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Thomas Howell

      First off, wonder why CNN chose to use the term "suspect"? Didn't the cop shoot him to death while he was in the act of chewing off the poor homeless guy's face??? That's NOT a suspect, it's a perpetrator! You hit he nail on the head though patrick, now that they've ruled out Bath Salts, what the HELL was he doing eating a man's face? I'll be damned if I were the officer if I would have tazed him :), sorry mum, but we don't taze rabid animals....

      June 29, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
  6. patrick

    I shudder to think what those officers on scene must have viewed...his face covered in blood with pieces of that poor mans face hanging from his mouth growling like a rabid animal . WAIT, hold you fire and use your tazers........YEA, RIGHT...YOU BETCHA! ! ! ! ! !

    June 28, 2012 at 11:22 am | Report abuse | Reply
  7. alex

    right he was no zombie BUT he was black

    July 2, 2012 at 8:20 am | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Baker

    His race didn't play a factor he was just a very mentally I'll person who has crossed the line he is the blame not his race let's not convert this issue into race that would be insane we all as the people needs to join forces together and help each other people is turning to drugs for a way out they are giving up stop pointing your finger and reach out in any way you can God Bless us all and his mom that needs support from her family and she isn't the blame the world needs prayer

    September 2, 2012 at 11:10 am | Report abuse | Reply
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