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. Melodykari78

    Hey Mom, save it for the man who got his face chewed off. I am sure he will believe you.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Wilbur in Seattle

    From the most corrupt city in America, Miami. You would have to get pretty hungry to try to eat the face off a homeless man. This is the craziest story of the year. Visiting Miami? Don't forget your hockey mask.

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

      See! Lebon DID take his talents to South Beach! 😛

      May 31, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Rick Smith

    Isn't that what they said about John Wayne Gacy?
    What a nice guy he was?
    And a democrat, too!
    I bet the zombie was a democrat.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mason Kuldinow

    Say what you want about liberals and democrats and Obama, but this guy was BIBLE TOTING CHRISTIAN!!! He was probably a Romney supporter and the poor homeless guy said to him–Hey get that dog off the roof!!!!

    May 31, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Terran18

      Mason Kuldinow

      Say what you want about liberals and democrats and Obama, but this guy was BIBLE TOTING CHRISTIAN!!! He was probably a Romney supporter and the poor homeless guy said to him–Hey get that dog off the roof!!!!

      Doubt this had anything to do with politics, and I do not see how the two could even relate. Also Romney is a mormon so there is no real correlation between this guys die hard Christianity or Mormonism.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  5. J

    Maybe if she had done a better job parenting they wouldn't have had to kill her kid

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

      And what of the parents who were actually decent parents and their children turn out to be psychopathic? Hmmm what about them J? It's possible his child bearing has nothing to do with a possible illness running under the radar but NOOOOOOO it must be the parents... Dork

      May 31, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Apocalypse No

      And maybe the best parents in the world can still have bad kids. I doubt John Hinkley Jr. shot President Reagan because oi bad parenting.

      June 1, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Guff

    It's funny that people complain about tazers...but then when someone gets shot suddenly the tazer doesn't sound so bad.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  7. jorline

    Dear Mom...your son as eating a human face and a bullet didn't stop him. Don't tase me, Bro!

    Dear Girlfriend...your boyfriend should have kept his face in the "Good Book" verses someone else's face!

    May 31, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  8. David Dailey

    Isn't this the story that pre-dates a Zombie Apocalypse by about 14 days?

    May 31, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  9. giggity

    "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,". REALLY?

    May 31, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Melodykari78

      Really. It is in fact that absurd.

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

      Maybe he ate it.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • PEDO BEAR

      Well, this day he couldn't take the bible with him. He was naked and hungry. He had no place to carry it on his stroll through South Beach.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • TAK

      Carry the bible, eat people. You know who never carried a bible? Thomas Edison, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking... Your choice.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • lolypup

      Yes, Really, the Bible is full of horrific deaths and tragedies, so it should surprise anyone...

      May 31, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Lazurusad

    "until toxicology reports are completed in a month or so?" Are you kidding me? 30 days? On CSI it's a heck of lot quicker than that! They're just stalling so this stuff can take hold and eat a few more up, it will be good for the police by driving the peoples fear factor and their budget up.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • MsK

      "On CSI it is faster than that" ... are YOU serious? There is a difference between TV and real life, I know it is a hard line to define these days, but REALLY????

      May 31, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • TVisReal

      You are basing your judgement on how long it takes to do a toxicology on a TV show!? I read on the internet that they can really complete a toxicology in five seconds. Everyone knows that if it is on the internet then it is the truth.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  11. jorline

    Brings a whole new meaning to "Get Out Of My Face".

    May 31, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  12. O my science

    ON a second note maybe this zombies mother would like to do a google image search for "miami face eating victim", and then tell the world wht a nice boy he was, and how nice his mothers day card was..

    May 31, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sassafrass

      EEEEEEW!!! I can't believe those are posted :O

      May 31, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  13. ZombieMom

    Where do you carry your bible when you have no clothes on?

    May 31, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • giggity

      good question

      May 31, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  14. PDX James

    I wonder if the mother cried while he was eating that guy's face off, or only after they shot her son.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  15. uniblob

    It is a comfort to know that if you take a bunch of drugs and go full-blown zombie and eat your buddy's face off, your Mom still loves you.

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

      And you get a Get-Out-Of-Hell-Free Card because you carried your bible.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
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