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. O my science

    Eugene previously had at least one extremely violent episode, when he was 22 years old. Riptide is the first to obtain the North Miami Beach police report concerning his 2004 battery arrest, and with it details of him smashing up his mother's house, attacking her and threatening her and the police officers who eventually Tased him...

    May 31, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anon E Moose

      The blame can be put squarely on the usual suspects: former POTUS George W Bush & Global warming.

      Oh yeah, also the Tea Party

      May 31, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  2. commonsense

    She is doing herself more harm by granting interviews.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Former F-22 Raptor Pilot

    "“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."

    He may have loved God, but apparently he liked soylent green even more.
    Soylent Green is people!!!

    May 31, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Coastal0ne

    “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.

    THEN HE WAS DEMON POSSESSED!

    May 31, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  5. EaglesQuestions

    I'm sorry Ma'am, but a taser wouldn't have stopped him.
    He11, even the first b ullet didn't stop him (purportedly). Some drugs just do that.

    I'm sorry for your loss, but the officers did what they had to do.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • mz_mellymel

      i said the same thing too! like a taser was going to stop him, when a bullet wouldnt have. i usually dont agree with just shooting someone, but as a man is laying on the ground with no face...time to pull out the guns

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

      I agree. Tasing could have killed the other man and the officers had to stop it before he attacked them. If I was the Mother, I would try and find out what it was her son had taken and actively begin the battle against the manufacture of it so that even in death her son may seek redemption. Getting high is beyond STUPID and kills more people everyday!

      May 31, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Melodykari78

    How's the victim doing? Anyone heard?

    May 31, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Coastal0ne

      Another website states he's still in critical but stable condition. Also, it said he will need months of surgeries.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Keith

      Says in the story that he's in critical condition in the hospital.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Grimy Reeper

      They say he did an about – face!

      May 31, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      He is now a zombie too.

      May 31, 2012 at 10:33 pm | Report abuse |
  7. james

    The zombies were having fun

    The party had just begun

    The guests included Wolfman...Dracula and his son...

    The did the mash...they did the Monster Mash.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • lauren

      hehe james

      May 31, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Elizabeth

    If he was a such a good man....Why are they withholding their names? No he was not a zombie but he was on drugs. No one deserves such a brutal attack.... If you don't want people to know your name keep your "my son was a good kid" comment to your self.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  9. O my science

    In February 2004, police officers reported to Eugene's family home on Northeast 176th Street in North Miami Beach. They found his father, whose first name is Melimon, standing outside the house, afraid to get in between his son and wife.

    Cops heard Eugene screaming at his mother: "You see what I can do!" and "How do you feel now!"

    When the officers entered the home, Eugene balled his hands into a fist and demanded: "What are you gonna do? What? You gonna shock me?"

    He threatened the officer, according to the police report, saying: "I'll kick your ass." That's when Eugene earned the dubious distinction of being the first perp ever Tased in North Miami Beach.

    Afterward, Eugene's mother Ruth told officers that he had said: "I'll put a gun to your head and kill you."

    May 31, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Tanker4202

    I can't imagine the officer saying, "hold on, I have to get my taser..."

    Lady, I'm sorry your son died but the world isn't McDonalds and you can't always get it "your way."

    May 31, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Melodykari78

      Burger King.

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

      That's Burger King (which is headquartered in Miami, where the attack happened.)

      May 31, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Samjam

    Your son ate the face of another man and withstood several shots to his body. He was not a zombie, no. But I would classify him as 'the infected.'

    May 31, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  12. What!!?

    Shoot him? Tase him? Why not just wait until he was done with his meal? He might have been willing to talk then.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Loyal Democrat

    The guy lost 75% of his face? Where is Al Sharpton! Ohhh,,,,, the guy who did it is black. Dr. King would be so proud.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  14. SO THIS ZOMBIE ACTION WAS CAUSED BY BIBLE READING AGAIN!?!?!?

    When are people going to learn that the bible should be read only at home or in jail. There is some real scariest stuff in print in that there bible thingy. Make you go nuts ev'ry time just look at the likes of fallwell, reagan, and the pope catholic gothic apostolic, and the like. Catholics are required to eat the face of jesus and every other part of her including nuts and juices as in "body of christ", "amen" next catholic pleez communion ritual feast and blood to as in "wine"

    May 31, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Loyal Democrat

    It may be a good idea to have her spayed to prevent her from throwing more puppies like this one.

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