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. Big Shark

    Oh yeah sure because he loved the Bible he had to be a good guy right? no one who's religious ever commits an atrocity right?

    June 1, 2012 at 8:12 am | Report abuse |
  2. chappy

    could have been subdued with a tazer?/???? Bravo Miami police for doing the right thing. geesh, like we need to support yet another zombie in prison at 50,000 a year for the next 60 years.

    I'm going to get one of those miami police booster decals for my car in support of a smart dude.

    Zombie = 0 Humanity = 1

    June 1, 2012 at 8:13 am | Report abuse |
  3. motty

    I've often wondered why often when a person takes mind-altering drugs they don't become super NICE and helpful instead of becoming murderous. What are we deep down anyway?

    June 1, 2012 at 8:18 am | Report abuse |
    • wow

      because you see really scary stuff....

      June 1, 2012 at 8:29 am | Report abuse |
  4. Matt

    Yeah, a nice Mother's Day card. That makes up for it.

    June 1, 2012 at 8:19 am | Report abuse |
  5. steveo

    “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.

    Christians are turinging into zombies!

    June 1, 2012 at 8:24 am | Report abuse |
  6. chappy

    There will be zombie mother's day cards next year, wait and see.

    June 1, 2012 at 8:25 am | Report abuse |
  7. juskishifatu

    are you kidding me? this piece of trash thinks that the cop should have used a taser? she should be shot as well. dude was eating a guy's face. this guy got off easy. instant death was a blessing for this guy.

    i mean seriously, what the hell is this woman talking about. her son was eating a man's face. screw the taser.

    June 1, 2012 at 8:25 am | Report abuse |
  8. rabbit one

    no true at all, mom. the second your son unfortunately utilized bath salts which alter the mind beyond recognition was in fact the exact moment when he lost complete control of himself and unfortunately for lack of a better expression took away the life of the other man – because living with one eye and a mangled face is a death on earth

    June 1, 2012 at 8:26 am | Report abuse |
  9. juskishifatu

    “That wasn’t him, that was his body but it wasn’t his spirit. Somebody did this to him,"

    um, yeah, he did it to himself. kudos to the cop who shot and killed this piece of trash. now if only this cop could go and do the same thing to all these losers who are defending this worthless animal....

    June 1, 2012 at 8:29 am | Report abuse |
  10. Pete

    @djan – Are you calling Trayvon Martin a "dirtbag"? Because you had it right at first – he WAS provoked. Zimmerman should have stayed in his vehicle as per the dispatcher's advice as well as neighborhood watch protocols that he as Captain should have been the first to observe. Martin's death and his injuries were HIS fault.

    On topic perhaps a taser should have been the first means of subduing Eugene but wen 4 bullets failed to more than make him pause before resuming his grizzly meal then yes lethal force was required.

    June 1, 2012 at 8:32 am | Report abuse |
  11. Bates

    Ok, someone who goes around carrying and quoting the Bible doesn't usually start nomming on someone's face, so I am calling BS on that whole Bible angle. So he gave his mom a nice card on Mother's Day... So what? Don't try to make your obviously deranged son into some kind of pseudo-saint. He was killed because he was EATING SOMEONE...ALIVE! If I saw one man eating the face of another man I wouldn't tase him either; I would put 2 bullets in his skull for good measure, plain and simple.

    June 1, 2012 at 8:34 am | Report abuse |
  12. DW

    Sweetheart, if your baby boy was chewing another mans face, he is no longer a "nice boy" regardless of the mother's day card he got you. Oh, and eating faces while naked does make him a zombie. Congratz, you birthed patient zero.

    June 1, 2012 at 8:35 am | Report abuse |
  13. JDahmer

    ...amateur.

    June 1, 2012 at 8:40 am | Report abuse |
  14. rom2894FL

    Once again people, moms and lawyers are the LEAST credible people to interview or quote after criminal incidents. Why the media thinks they will provide some truthful insights has always made me wonder about reporters and why they print such remarks as insightful into the truth about what actually happened.

    June 1, 2012 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
  15. Foreverwar

    Someone needs to tazer his mother.

    June 1, 2012 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
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