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. Former F-22 Raptor Pilot

    I had a chicken cutlet sandwich with cheddar, bacon, lettuce, tomato and italian dressing on a roll. I'm pretty sure my meal was as satisfying as Rudy's last meal, and it put up much less of a fight.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Scott C

    I wonder if she would have said all these nice things about him if it was her face that he chewed off. Why is it that we never have trouble trotting out a relative to explain why their sociopath offspring were really just good kids who were misunderstood, or having a bad day. What the matter with this woman that she can't see that she raised a monster. As far as her owning up to her inherent responsibility in this attack (raising the man that would commit such an act), she obviously thinks she has done no wrong. She probably thinks she was a great mom.

    As to tasing him, or subduing him? That's insane. He was given the chance to stop, and still continued his attack. Even after being shot he kept attacking. The only way to deal with her animal offspring is the way it happened in actuality. Shot dead, on the spot, and hauled off like a roadkill carcass.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  3. tjc360

    any mother would say that....

    May 31, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Vince

    And when the drug test comes back negative then what are they going to say?

    May 31, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Clearhead

      They're going to say that this is just one more societal trend under demoncratic principles.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  5. palerider

    wow the site took down my post...guess i hit a nerve....military grade bathsalts released to the public as a test....coming to a city near you?

    May 31, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Lazybum

    “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.

    In fact, he was seen using Leviticus as a napkin right before he was shot.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. larry larry

    I heard the police did it to make kids freaked out about what taking these bath salts can do to you.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Dennn

    Where are the REVS? Bring on the Revs! Gosh, I hope she lawyers up and decides to sell merchandise.....think of the Tshirts. She'll make millions! If she gets the right lawyer she might even be able to get some of the "Walking Dead" rights and profits. Bonanza!

    May 31, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dropbear

      Don't forget the new market for zombie-proof hoodies.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Emigdio

    It was another black man's face.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Artie

    Same old story...parents just can't believe their kids can do any wrong. LMAO Newsflash...you didn't know your kid as well as you thought you did!!!

    May 31, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ZombieHunter

    Don't forget, DoubleTap

    May 31, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  12. BrianTX

    I'm glad that I'm living a world apart from him.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Rev Al

    To the people out there that think this tragic accident is funny, please stop!! Civil Rights are for all Americans and since Rudy is an American, he has civil rights. Even though Rudy was turned into a Zombie, he is still American, he has civil rights. Do you want the police to shoot you for eating a big mac in public? Rudy (the Zombie with civil rights) was eating his lunch in public and was shot. Next thing you know our guvment will outlaw Zombie to Zombie marriage. Zombie children won't be able to go to normal children schools. This needs to stop. I am forming a "Million Zombie March" to the white house to push for Zombie rights and stop the police brutality!!!

    May 31, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • JENNY

      OMG that was funny. THAT was funny!

      May 31, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  14. JENNY

    Officer forgot rule number 36 and 32. Aim for the head and Double tap.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  15. witnessof1

    Well said.... I could'nt find the words to express myself. Two men and the most tragic of encounters...one dead and another left fighting for his life....there are no winners, and answers are needed...not a continuing attack

    May 31, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • JENNY

      Yes and he didn't get to finish his dinner!

      May 31, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
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