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
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  1. D T

    His mother said, "He was a good kid. The police could have tazed him instead of shooting him." ??????? I'll bet Jeffrey Dahmer and John Wayne Gacy's mothers would have said the same thing. Think about that..........

    May 31, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  2. JesusIsNotReal

    what happens when you mix BIBLE with BATH SALTS? a Zombie

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

      I'll have to try that combo out on my Alchemy App. 😀

      May 31, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Whatsup?

    I'm a mom, but I would never defend my son if he did this. Never.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Colin Morgan

      Yeah, I always wondered if there was a line that might be crossed when parents say "It's my child and I love them no matter what." Thank you for being rational and sane. I knew there had to be a limit...

      May 31, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Cherries

    I wonder if they could say that to Mr Poppo, if he survives.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. JasonPanov

    It's an unfortunate reality of this disease that sometimes good, Bible-carrying people who send their moms nice cards on Mother's Day will get infected just the same as murderous, blood-thirsty monsters will. What you should keep in mind is that whatever they were in the past, that was before they turned. It's exactly that line of thinking that will doom the human race when this thing spreads. They may be parents, children, spouses, whatever, once they turn, they will literaly eat your face off. They need to be dealt with as quickly as possible. Perhaps if this virus does manage to break through the quarantine, the government will admit that he was Patient Zero, and this wasn't just drug induced.
    Just for the sake of argument, though, let's say that he did only do this because he was on bath salts, and someone "did this to him." If he wsa really the type of person they said he was, how do you think he's going to handle waking up with the knowledge that he has ingested human flesh? Zombie or bath salts, death was probably the most humane option.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. big banjo

    mom says "my son was no zombie" of America says YES he was.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • M Johnson

      I didn't say he was a zombie. There is no such thing as zombies. UNLESS you mean he was a zombie about religion. I've seen that,

      June 22, 2012 at 11:54 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Melodykari78

    I would rather be dead than 'come to' and realize I had eaten a mans face.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • M Johnson

      Good point.

      June 22, 2012 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jamie

    Wow! Bad experience as a child with church? Why all the hate and bitterness?

    May 31, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Naddina

      Christian religion is demonic.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michelle

      Organized religion and its stories... ah the madness...

      May 31, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  9. O my science

    My sons no zombie, he gave me a nice mothers day card, and we all know zombies dont give mothers day cards.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  10. MIke

    He was a good kid? The guys 31 years old, doing ridiculous drugs, ate 75% of a mans face, but he sends good mothers day cards. Please go talk to Ronald Poppo about how good of a kid he was. Go look at his picture, fyi. You'll never get that image out of your head.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rae

      I just can't bring myself to look at it.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • M Johnson

      I think his religious convictions are just as much of a factor as the salts. And BTW if real marijuana were legal as it should be maybe people wouldn't have to resort to using these bath salts or "synthetic marijuana" as some people have called it. I know there are some crazies who think marijuana is illegal for a reason and using marijuana leads to hard drugs and etc but that's all BS and your brain washed if you believe that nonsense.

      June 23, 2012 at 12:00 am | Report abuse |
  11. Tee

    Mom still loves her cannibal son. No concern what-so-ever for the victim. Typical.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Terran18

      Hate to defend such a thing, but honestly come on. We all know the news media does leave things out and chooses what statements are thrown into an article online.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  12. D T

    In fact, would you really want this guy out in a few years after being mentally stabilized in some facility then let loose?? If he was stupid enough to use bath salts or ANY illegal substance then mutilate another human being, he deserved nothing other than death himself.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Incitatus

    the girlfriend is quoted as saying: “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,”... Well if that's not a red flag I don't know what is....

    May 31, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  14. NudeTruth

    Obama has announced that if he had another son that he would look like Rudy Eugene.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jamie

      ...but blamed it on Bush.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Bill

    Key word... "WAS"

    May 31, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
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