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. Angle of Mercia

    Somehow I don't think anyone would argue with his poor mother, since he was not psychotic before just a religious schizophrenic and probably a nice guy in there somewhere.
    How terrible for anyone to go through any of it, attacker, victim, survivors, or the public at large.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Michael Brown

      He had a history of violence. Don't give me that garbage.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      actually, it's kind of amusing....a dude eating another dudes face is just plain funny...I wonder what Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert had to say about it....

      June 1, 2012 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      actually, I wonder what Gordon Ramsey would say about it....

      June 1, 2012 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
    • gene kemp

      Mike brown he had a battery charge at 16 and other charges related to weed , his "history of violence" as you put it has only surfaced in the past year, which tells me his mental state/drug use must have progressed to this unbelievable state. to simply write it off on he's violent is crazy talk, there are LOTS of violent people who don't reach this level, if in fact it was a violent nature that led to this then why didn't he just beat the guy to death? the woman who killed her son and ate parts of him had no criminal record, so there is much more to this

      June 1, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • palebunny

      Please, nobody knows whether he was violent or not, and an ex girlfriend (who apparently did not know he DID have a mental illness) said "well I wouldn't say he had a mental illness, but, he always thought everybody was out to 'get him'. That sounds more like a PARANOID schizophrenic to me, and they ultimately will always act out violently if not properly drugged.

      June 2, 2012 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
  2. saywhat

    I can understand a mother's feelings.Feel sad for her. We don't know what inner demons drove this man to do what he did.
    My sympathies are for the mother.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
    • K H

      My sympathy is for the man in the hospital missing 75% of his face! It took him 18 agonizing minutes to do that damage! If I were you, I'd try putting yourself in the victim's shoes for a minute before you feel bad for the attackers family...

      May 31, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • sharky

      The guy had a history with the police. This is not the first attack, not the first serious drug abuse.

      The mother probably had not even seen her son in years.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hugh Jass

      "We don't know what inner demons drove this man to do what he did."

      Never smoke anything labelled "bath salts," and you'll never find out.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Wow!!

    The bottom line is on that day he was the person eating another persons face off. If he was a Bible totting nice guy, ppl that don't no him didn't get to see that from him. If he was a man of God, it is a sad story on all levels. I am not a fan of guns but I think the officer did what he needed to do in this specific case.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Dude

      This person was oviously not a man of God, no christian shoud be smoking, or attacking people. When something like this happens it shows that he is not a christian

      June 1, 2012 at 1:28 am | Report abuse |
  4. szark

    I feel for Mom, but I think the officer was MORE than just do use deadly force.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      deadly force should only be used when lesser methods had failed....he should have been tazed...if that didn't subdue him, he should have been shot in the leg....if that failed, THEN you shoot for a center mass kill shot.

      June 1, 2012 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  5. Daniel in California

    That's what happens when you read the Bible... you become a zombie.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
    • JoeBama

      Thats the way I see it. Jeebus turned into a zombie. Rudy was just following in the steps of jeebus. Well, and eating some guys face.
      I think Rudy was just taking advantage of the caryout service offered by FaceBook.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • politicalwindbag

      Was he just following the new testament? "This is my body.." Mathew, Mark, Luke & Corinthians. That sounds like a very literal, psychosis induced, interpretation of the new testament to me. Cheesus, mental illness & street drugs don't mix. A highly religious, yet violent reaction is kind of a common response among people who have temporal lobe epilepsy. Drug abuse is not uncommon among these people as is repeatedly reported -by the people who have this form of epilepsy. Many of these people claim that it enhances the religious ecstasy when the seizures occur. That said, I don't know if he suffered from epilepsy or not but he certainly exhibited all the characteristics of a person with a sever mental disorder on street drugs. Also the man he attacked I understood was also a homeless person. It is possible that he may have even provided the very drugs that reacted so badly with his mental illness. Most homeless people will do anything for a few dollars to get their personal drug of choice. There is a very good video on YouTube by Keith Lowell Jensen called "why lie I need a drink" where he interviews numerous homeless people. The raw data he collected was, most homeless were there due to alcohol and drugs.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hugh Jass

      "when you read the Bible... you become a zombie" He was just trying to convert a herd of mindless followers . . . for Jesus.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • MyTake

      Word up

      May 31, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  6. weird

    Based on the reports, I wasn't there, he was on drugs. He couldn't have been that nice of a person or God fearing as his mother and girl friend think. Say "he was my son" "he was a good kid" trying to defend him doesn't make much sense when you still wanna remain anonymos. He may have been a good kid in the past, but not that day. What if it had been her son with his face being eating off and left in the hospital with 75% of his face eaten off, she wouldn't be claiming the cop should have tazed him then. She would be asking why wasn't he shot.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |

    Only zombies deny the existance of zombies.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Ain't THAT the truth! I agree 1000%.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Crocker

    Parents are typically the last to find out about their offspring's true colors – or admit that they gave birth to a demon seed. . Jeffrey Dahmer is a great example. He was a 'nice kid' too.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
    • gene kemp

      jeffery was killing animals and people as a teenager, there were lots of signs missed that later connected after he was caught , this is drug related. although i think the cop did the right thing i only wished he wasn't killed so there could possibly be some understanding of what happened

      June 1, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Chris Redfield

    Naked guy eating another man's face. Officer commands him stop and get on the ground. Naked guy snarls at the officer with face bits all over his own face.

    If you were the officer, would you have been pointing a tazer at the naked guy rather than a gun?

    May 31, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • JoeBama

      I would have went in my trunk and got my zombie killing kit. Then decide on which weapon to use. I would have chose the shotgun, not the handgun. If this guy wasnt a walker, I dont know what is.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Michelle

    Was he possessed? Why the bible comments from the girlfriend and nothing from the mother? I wonder what he was into. I don't think drugs regardless would make you eat people's faces....

    May 31, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Michael Brown

      Ever hear of PCP? Oh, and I know of people who were on much less and barked like a dog and attacked people so don't underestimate stimulants

      May 31, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  11. wow

    You disgust me. Only an ignorant moron would make any kind of comparison between the two. Guy chases 17 year-old with a gun and 17 year-old ends up dead after police tell guy NOT to get out of his car and follow 17 year-old. Another guy eats innocent man's face. Yep I can see the parallels there. You are brilliant. Good on you for using this tragic case to further your own pathetic agenda. Bravo

    May 31, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Conundrum

      Ugh! It was a 911 operator, they are NOT police. Can't even get your fats straight, can ya?

      May 31, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yirmin Snipe

      Actually you have the facts wrong, Zimmerman wasn't chasing anyone, prior to him being pounced on by Trayvon he was walking to his SUV... he was just lucky he shot Trayvon before he had his clothes stripped off and half his face eaten... Trayvon had drugs in his system, so god only knows how long it would have been before he got tired of slamming Zimmerman's head into the sidewalk and decided to start eating.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • falcon7453

      while the 17 year old 6'3 starts MMA battering the victim and smashing his head on the curb, resulting in victim having to defend himself.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • jim

      A 911 operator told Zimmerman "We don't need you to do that". The police were not even involved at that time. TALK ABOUT IGNORANT!

      May 31, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eastcoast Kid

      So you were there at the scene of the Martin case? The facts do not show that Martin was chased, in fact, there is another side of the story that states Zimmerman turned around and was approached by Martin who said "you got a problem?, well, you do now". Simply – none of us know what happened there, we were not there and have no idea what happened. I doubt we ever will, the media has it now.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mr. Consitution

      Listen VERY carefully. The COPS cannot protect our LIVES, let alone our property . SOOOOO, we WILL patrol the streets, and we WILL play Marshall Dilllion, and being human, we will make mistakes. And blood will be shed, and in the END, GOOD will prevail. So study some history before you flap your trap.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • rusty schucklefurd

      re: "Guy chases 17 year-old with a gun and 17 year-old ends up dead after police tell guy NOT to get out of his car and follow 17 year-old."

      Both of these statements are incorrect. Zimmerman did Not chase Trayvon (according to witnesses). Zimmerman was never told not to get out of his car or not to follow Trayvon (according to 911 tapes). Zimmerman may be guilty as sin, but the two things you've said have been contradicted by witness testimony (at least what's been put out in public). Let's wait and see what comes out of the trial – However, I do agree with you that there is NO comparison between the Cannibal story and the Trayvon/Zimmerman story.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Douglas

      Lololol, oh wait. U were serious. Lololol

      May 31, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Billbert

      The police never told Zimmerman not to follow Trayvon, he was speaking to a 911 operator(not the police), and was already following Trayvon.When he informed them of that fact they said, "we don't need you to do that", which is not a clear command and not something he was legally required to do. I am positive you must have become aware of the facts of the case by now, and continuing to repeat falsehoods regarding the case only serves to undermine your belief that Zimmerman did something illegal. It is apparent both parties escalated a bad situation by reacting stupidly, and I would agree Zimmerman is most likely to blame for something, but the only evidence is not clear and the only real witness account is Zimmerman's. This means there is really no way to prove what happened that night, at least beyond a reasonable doubt, and he will probably get away with whatever he might have done. I am aware that this sucks, but repeating BS does not help anything, in fact it is now hurting the case as witnesses (who already had seen basically nothing) have changed their stories because of BS media coverage, making them seem unreliable and making a strong case for reasonable doubt.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • humberto

      Martin being trusted and allowed to walk the street alone despite being trown out of school was who's fault ?

      May 31, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hugh Jass

      "You disgust me. Only an ignorant moron would make any kind of comparison between the two."

      Yeah, don't be such an audrey.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Southern Belle

      This was a possible case of drugs mixtures gone wrong. Yeah the girlfriends SAYS that he was God fearing, but he might have been working on bettering himself. My thing is people should not pass judgement until they know the facts of the case. Actions do not describe a person character especially under the influence of drugs.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son.

      Um.. actually a CIVILON dispatcher told him: we don’t need you to do that. Get your facts right before calling someone else a moron.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • sayso

      What a sad patheitc moron. Good job Messy Sharpie. You totally misrepresented the facts. Basicall your full of you know what. Nice try though, I'm sure you were one of the clowns that beleived OJ was innocent. Why don't face the truth for once in your bias reality? Good luck with that truth thing. HAHA LOL

      May 31, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yum

      First off following someone to ask what they are doing on private property is not a crime. Second there was no order to not get out of the car. Just a we don't need you to do that when asked if he was following. The first crime that was committed was the battery against Mr. Zimmerman.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wes

      911 operators are NOT police and cannot "give orders". Why do people keep saying this? It's not rocket science!

      May 31, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • alienprophecy

      The police didn't tell him not to follow–an operator did. Neither an operator nor a police officer have the authority to tell you to do stop doing something if it isn't illegal, and following someone whom you suspect of robbing the neighborhood is simply not illegal. Besides that, George Zimmerman probably saved someone from Trayvon Martin eating their face off.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • rkt210

      Too bad the same argument can be made either way. The man should not have followed Trayvon when advised not to by the police, but after he stopped the chase and returned to his vehicle, it was Trayvon who followed him and initiated the violence. Either one could have walked away and avoided the outcome. I agree that this has nothing to do with this story, as this story is about an actual police officer properly defending a citizen and himself from a depraved lunatic.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      What kind of an "ignorant moron" makes up facts out of the blue to forum their philosophies from? Look in the mirror for an answer. There is _no_ evidence things transpired as you say in the Zimmerman -v- thugling case. In fact, the reality is the facts as released to date COMPLETELY contradict you.

      . . I know; no cause for concern on your part. Right "cousin"?

      May 31, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff Bridges

      So yeah, pretty much NOTHING you said was actually true.

      Are you even following the case, or do you prefer to get your news from

      Nobody followed anybody

      And no POLICE officer told him anything.

      You're gonna be SO MAD when Zimmerman walks.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • BernieJ

      If somehow the man getting his face ate had a gun and shot Rudy you would want him to go to jail right?

      May 31, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • thug hater

      so, lets say George did profile him. Black kid in hoodie in the dark.... I would too. BUT, does that mean cause the little thug was profiled he had the right to beat Georges head into the pavement? All you hiphuggers make me sick. If the black dude didnt beat in the older dude, he would be alive today. Consequences are a mo fo! Maybe next time, little thugs might not be so quick to throw a punch

      May 31, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wowie

      Ummm......when was zimmerman ever told, "NOT to get out of his car and follow"? They asked him if he was following and then ADVISED him that they didn't need him to do that. They never said, "Stop. Don't follow him. Cease pursuit immediately. Etc...". It was his right to follow, we do have rights, you know. Was it smart to follow? No. Should he have? No. Should the operator have explicilty told him NOT to follow? Yes. I'm just saying that you are touting a
      falsehood by saying Zimmerman was told, "NOT to" anything. He was only advised that they didn't need him to do that.

      Anyway, this guy was a freakin zombie! I understand the family's burden by the loss of their loved one. But you can't excuse your child/significant other when they got high (we'll know for sure after tox. screening) and ate someone's face. If they file a wrongful death suit, it should be thrown out. I'm sure Jackson and Sharpton will be along shortly with mother on camera......"My baby didn't do 'nuffin!"

      May 31, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • brian

      You seem to forgot that the 17 year old was innocent also.

      May 31, 2012 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • mlr

      wow – police did NOT tell zimmermann to not get out of his car and follow trayvon. He was already out of his car when he called in. He started to return to his car when the police said he did not need to continue to follow. That is when trayvon attacked. That said – trayvon had pot in his system – not bath salts – so it is irrelevant for this article.

      June 1, 2012 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
    • ohbrother!

      That is a misrepresentation of the facts. No police officer told him not to follow. Dispatchers are NOT police officers and have no legal authority imbued in them. They hold no office and are not sworn. But I suppose that I just wasted 30 seconds of my life with you.

      June 1, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • gene kemp

      i'm pretty sure we know why he made the comparison, note that he didn't compare this case to other recent human eating cases we've seen lately, i think there are 3 current and the mother in Texas 3 years ago. it's getting to be almost impossible to read comments anywhere anymore where someone doesn't make ridiculous racial statements...

      June 1, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Flatsguide

      Both are drug related thugs. The only difference is that Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson won't get any publicity from the zombie because he wasn't white.

      June 1, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hey "WOW"

      Your what's wrong with America.

      June 3, 2012 at 3:45 am | Report abuse |

    Exactly. The cop's actions cost about 3 dollars in bullets rather than hundreds of thousands if not millions in tax payer money on court costs and imprisonment and execution.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  13. jaintn

    Good grief. Yet another religious whacko driven crazy by the bible. He was a wild, vicious monster and was put down like one. I feel bad for his mother, but what should we do with something like him? Put a straight jacket and one of those Hanibal Lector masks on him and store him somewhere until he finally dies? What was killed by the police was not a human being and I'm glad they killed him before he found his next victim.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  14. DreamCandyy

    Why are the comments against God? A man chewed off another mans face, can you not see? This man raised the bar for our societies and still the jokes come and come. Get off of your high horses and open your damn eyes.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrey

      This site is full of commies, that is why.
      Oh, sorry, I meant to say liberals....

      May 31, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • fofo

      can't you see the irony?

      May 31, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • fofo

      Don't try to correct yourself Andrey, you said what you meant because you are too dim to understand the difference between a liberal and a communist.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hugh Jass

      "A man chewed off another mans face, can you not see? This man raised the bar for our societies " I am trying to understand how this raises the bar. You mean, we all should be thinking of ways to outdo the face-eating zombie?

      May 31, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  15. BubbaGMan

    Natural Selection at work!

    May 31, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |

      I don't know. Darwin might have freaked out if he knew evolution was taking us down the road leading to the Zombie Apocalypse!

      May 31, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bubba™

      "Natural Selection at work!" At least someone dumb enough to smoke 'bath salts' isn't going to reproduce.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
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