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. genericbrand

    "But he said police have been seeing increased incidents of drug-induced crime in the area."

    There is no such thing as "drug-induced crime". You either commit a crime, or you don't. Drugs, if anything, lower your inhibitions. But they do not force someone to eat another person's face. They do not force someone to steal. People commit crimes while they have drugs in their systems, but the drugs themselves are not the cause of the crime. Get educated America! Drugs are not bad; SOME people who use drugs are bad. But drugs themselves can be used responsibly (and are by a number of individuals).

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

      unless the drugs you are on are prone to send people into violent psychotic episodes with no warning, bath salts are entirely untested and unregulated, he could have gotten a particularly potent dose or something, either way, he was not in reality, and dammit, he needed to eat a face

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

      lol. You have got to be kidding me...

      May 31, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • lauren

      awsome point

      May 31, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Rex A

    In other news, the mother of the victim wishes to say "My son was no lunchable.."

    May 31, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ShammyMike

    Your son deserved no such act of mercy. If a man were stabbing another man, and didn't comply with the officer's request to cease, I expect he would be shot too. All the officer saw was a man eating another man's face, he was by himself and had to act in the best interest of the victim. Enough with this BS about demanding the villain's personal rights be considered first and foremost. Disgusting display by a family that's clearly already gearing up for a baseless lawsuit.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  4. O my science

    Btw nice mugshot of the good son before this inccident.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Tony

    I'm not religious, but after hearing how his girlfriend described him, this sure sounds like someone who was possessed.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ashlee

    They did try to tase him, but everyone knows the only thing that takes down a zombie is the Double Tap

    May 31, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  7. PDX James

    As I've always said; it's a cop out to blame alcohol or whatever drug you take for your actions. We all know that these drugs affect our judgment, so we accept the responsibility for our actions when we decide to take them anyway. Unless someone slipped this guy the worst mickey in history, he's fully culpable for eating another man's face.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  8. AlkaSeltzaaaa!

    In high school Rudy was a great student, great friend and voted most likely to chew your face off.

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

      Horrible story but your comment has me laughing so hard I'm crying.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  9. rex dart eskimo spy

    My son always cleaned his plate–always ate all of his peas. He was such a good boy.

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

    LOL! A zombie is a dead person brought back to "life" - so Ms. Eugene you're right. Your son is no Zombie but a psychopath! Cheers!

    May 31, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  11. m0rtis

    I'd like to know why it takes "a month or so" for a toxicology report to be returned...

    May 31, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jill

    One thing that jumps out at me is that the mom never once apologizes for her son's actions (not that it's her fault) or expresses concern for the victim. It's all about an awesome Mom's Day card and what a great son he was. Sad.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  13. truthhound

    from what I read...the police attempted to talk to this guy...and he then approached the officer in an aggressive believe me when I say this...I am no police defender...I am no police officer either...but had that been me...and I just witnessed this guy chew off the face of another person and he failed to comply with my orders to cease and desist...but then started aggressively moving toward me...i'd have shot that guy too...and wouldn't have thought twice about it. And if you have seen my previous posts on here then you know that i'm far from a law enforcement defender.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ZombieMom

    The single most important thing we've learned from this Zombie experiance: However much ammo you have stashed away, you need to double it. It took 2 bullets to take him down, not one.

    BTW: Mom, g/f – sorry he was a zombie. He may be the first caught on camera in the act!

    May 31, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • m0rtis

      That's because he didn't "double-tap"

      May 31, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Heather

    "He was a good kid."
    "...who could have been subdued with a Taser rather than gunfire."

    I'm not saying I don't understand where she's coming from but come on lady. Your son was EATING A GUYS FACE OFF. If someone was coming at you growling and eating someone's ear, I bet you'd fire too.

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