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. rizzo

    Bath salts is a hell of a drug...

    May 31, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  2. J.C.

    He was such a good boy. Except for that one face eating incident, I mean. Who among us hasn't had a bad day now and again?

    May 31, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Michael in Houston

    I think it goes without saying that if you decide to literally chew someones face off and refuse to stop when authorities are commanding you to stop, you are likely going to get shot.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  4. James

    According to family and friends of the people that police have ever shot, these "victims" are always:
    * Straight A students
    * Deeply religious
    * Nicest persons you will EVER find
    * Loving, compassionate people
    * Never done anything wrong in their lives
    * 100% incapable of whatever crime

    Riiiight... Why do police only target these outstanding members of society?!

    May 31, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • wobbles

      you forgot "never gang members"

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

    naturally a mother goes to her sons defense but the first shot did not stop him , therefor I do not believe a taser could have stopped him. Clearly the man was under the influence, but you can not blame anyone but your son for taking the drugs and going on a rampage on some bystander. You all need to take responsibility for your actions and stop blaming society and the white man. Instead of saying someone did this to him, maybe you need to go on and anti-drug campaign in your "hood" and clean up your streets and your people who are becoming a detriment to society...a scab that needs peeled. I am sorry you lost a son but it was his own not let it be yours as well by lopping yourself in with all the other scabs of your race who can only complain but never explain.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ted

    I have a son who is 5 years old if he grows up into a man ,and chews the face off of another human who ever that might be . Please with all my approval shot him down where he stands.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  7. DAve

    Wait for it.....That is the sound of a lawsiut coming.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robby

      Definitely talked to a lawyer and he probably setup the media interview, dirt bags!

      May 31, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Steve

    So is she saying she thinks what her son did is somehow alright? Seriously someone that kills someone out of rage or to steal or because they are drunk I could understand, not condone but understand, but eating someone's face?

    May 31, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Eric

    When you see a zombie gnawing off someone's face, you do the double-tap, that's just common sense. Not only did the police have every right to use deadly force in this case, since the zombie's victim was in mortal danger, but the zombie didn't even react to the first hits with the bullets, so it's extremely unlikely a taser would have had any effect.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Elihu Wygant

    What this 'man' did was way beyond sick or demented; he is/was the personification of EVIL itself...He is now paying his just dues...

    May 31, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Lil

    Well, I was going to make a serious post, but the rest of you have gotten me so tickled with the zombie thing, I don't remember what I was going to say! LOL Maybe something like I feel bad for his mother, but sorry ma'am, your son had some serious issues . . . like canabalism.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Sue NYC

    What a moron you are .... unbelievable the trolls on this stie!

    May 31, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Loyal Northern Democrat

      They all live in NYC or NJ.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hugh Jass

      "unbelievable the trolls on this site!" You know, trolls are also cannibal face-eating zombies.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  13. rjc

    Why should we feel bad for an idiot who did drugs, wigged out & committed crimes? He made a conscious decision to do the drugs... he took the risk... he paid the price. Don't want to wig out & chew off another mans face & get shot? Then don't do drugs. It's called personal accountability.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Emmanuel

    Oh right like you're gonna walk up to someone eating a person face and taz them when you have a gun. Officer did the right thing. He's just following the rule to Zombieland. DoubleTap! then ask question later.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Pamela

    These people that commit these horrid crimes are always said to be the nicest people. These people have severe mental problems and are not able to be nice. He sounds like a rapid dog the way he attacked that homeless man. Perhaps he had rabies. He was a cannibal and a zombie which our world does not need, he needed to be shot dead.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
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