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. Dr. Hannibal Lecter

    When reached for comment the head of the Americans for the Other Than Living (AOTL) stated:

    Brainsssss.........

    May 31, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anon E Moose

      But nobody's even heard of this activist organization!

      They need to do an outreach, a PR campaign, something viral, youthful, and relevant to today's youth.

      May I suggest David Bowie's eternally k3wl & classic "She was a young undead American" as a theme song
      for this uplifting effort ?

      May 31, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Zombie Hunter

    If the victim was bitten by this zombie, shouldn't the authorities be keeping a close eye on him??? He's due to turn at any time!!!

    May 31, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • JasonPanov

      Mechanism is already in place that after the outbreak starts, we can detach Florida and jettison it into the ocean. This is just a trial run of the virus.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Former F-22 Raptor Pilot

    I'm sure PETA will be furious that another rabid mutt was put down. Oh well.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Well, figures.

      @Former F-22 Raptor Pilot, world better off if you crashed? Yes.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Nequelquepart

    Calling Al Sharpton. Please help obtain justice for another one of Obamas "sons"

    May 31, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Baby5haker

    Police probably could have tased him but I heard Eugene was looking for seconds.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Arroc

    Did anyone read World War Z?!? they suspect he was under the influence of some " drug" hmmm but family report him as a stand up guy?? Where did he work..the Umbrella Corporation....As long as he isnt patient zero it hopefully wont be 28 days :O

    May 31, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Cartman

    A taser? Really? Seems to me like "mombie" is wrapped in a veil of denial. I don't see how any court would possibly award her money, I say kudos to the officer who put him down. He acted properly and you can see on the tape that he went into a defensive stance before firing. "Mombie" needs to wake up: her son was acting exactly like a zombie, he kept eating after being warned AND after one shot. As far as I'm concerned the cop deserves a medal.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  8. nlcatter

    i wish they had tortured him instead!!!

    bible freaks

    May 31, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jeremy

    The mother and girlfriend are dilusional!!! Of course they don't want to accept the truth that their son and boyfriend likes to eat a humans face. I could read the bible all day long and still be a zombie and be a threat to society. The cop is the correct thing 100%!

    May 31, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  10. jesse

    So nice he will eat your face!

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

    Uh yeah, eating a guy's face off kind of deserves some bullets, sorry.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Mike Ihrie

    if OBAMA had a son, I bet he would look like Rudy Eugene......

    May 31, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  13. sharky

    Lady I know you are trying to stick up for your son, but he HAD a history of violence, drug use, and run ins with the law. I am going to wager she had not had contact with her son in years to know what he was getting up to.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Whome

    Thats why they are called Mothers.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Kevin Nivek

    This story is going to be the basis for my new movie Cannibal Zombies From Florida.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
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