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. politicalwindbag

    OK, so what if he always carried his bible and never went anywhere without it. Does this mean that other bible-thumpers are going to start eating peoples faces? The fact that he went everywhere with a bible makes me trust him less not more.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Colin Morgan

      Zombie Jesus cannot beat Raptor Jesus.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wolfgang

      I wonder where in its bible did it tell him to eat a humans face off...

      June 1, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  2. James

    A bullet didn't stop him, how would a taser...he had to take multiple shots to be subdued.

    I understand the mothers pain, I really do, but in this case the man wouldn't stop eating the guys face!

    May 31, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Dantheman

    OH, you said tased. I thought you said tasted.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  4. weezer

    "He was a good boy, who only nibbled off small chunks of people. Why, he ate my arm once, but was considerate enough to make it my non-writing one....such a good boy..."

    May 31, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Blackbird1313

      LMAO. Good one!

      May 31, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  5. zachmarsh

    I think it would have been so much worse if his family and friends were saying, "Yeah, that's sounds JUST like something Rudy would do. As a matter of fact, when I heard that some homeless man had his face chewed off, I thought, 'where's Rudy! That could ONLY be Rudy's doing.' "

    May 31, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  6. JF

    Miami PD shoots first ask questions later. If you want someone tasered call Miami-Dade PD, they specialize in tasing, especially children and the elderly.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  7. kemetic semtic1

    He was drugged, the question is by who.

    Miami police tryin to MK-Ultra-rize!!

    they wanted to leave a negative story to justify their over policing everytime blacks come to miami for a weekend.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  8. lynn

    As usual mommy says " he was a good kid" and then they throw the bible in it? Come on...be serious. Do you know how many times a criminal ALWAYS has some person to stand up and say "he was a good kid" Well, I'm glad my kids aren't that good...

    May 31, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • LindaMae

      Hey- he did give her a NICE Mothers Day Card- geeez- (sarcasm) 🙂

      May 31, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Toutle Mom

    I hate it when people use the bible like that. As if just by simply reading the Bible it makes you the pinacle of morality. The bible is just a bunch of myths and stories that he been trumped up by people who want others to follow them. These preachers use the promise of eternity to convince people that they have all the answers.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dantheman

    I would rather let people smoke weed than see this in the news every other day.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Colin Morgan

      I'd rather see this in the news every day. It means the zombie apocalypse is finally upon us. I've been waiting years for this story bro...

      May 31, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Karen

    He gave me a nice card on Mother’s Day. ??????? Some people should just not procreate.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • PEDO BEAR

      It was a Hallmark card:

      Blood so red
      Lips so blue
      Flesh is tasty
      Mother, I love you!

      May 31, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Paul

    "My son was no zombie." Thanks for clearing up that your son knew right from wrong, and made a lucid choice to eat brains.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Angela

    If someone is chewing my face off, the police darn well better shoot!

    May 31, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Chris

    He was a nice kid who just so happens to feast off of the flesh of the living. We all have our weaknesses. If I can't live in a society where a man is free to eat another mans face, well then I don't want to live in that society.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  15. shauna

    I am sure this guy was a nice man.....when he wasn't under the influence of whatever substance he was on.
    As for the news reporting bath salts....they are just speculating on what type of drug it may have been.... marijuana, cocaine, heroin don't do these sorts of things to people....but drugs such as lsd, acid, bath salts...whatever they want to call it will do things to people that are the unthinkable. I feel for his family but truly, if the gun fire didn't stop him what makes them think that the taser would have stopped him?!

    May 31, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
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