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. Dave

    Taser's have no effect on Zombies. The officer did the right thing.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  2. bookldy209

    Denial

    May 31, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ZombieLols

    waiting for Eric holder and Sharptounge

    May 31, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  4. bookldy209

    He ate the face off of another human being. Bath salts aside, whatever happened to personal responsibility?

    May 31, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  5. gdubl

    so...the photo used for this article...is this not a mug shot? Such a good boy who did not leave the house to do crime without his Bible...

    May 31, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  6. D. Evil

    ThE rEvOlUtIoN HaS bEgUn.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Frank

    Your son deserved to only be tased which would mean essentially restrained without any permanant damage. While this other man is missing 75% of his face and will face a life of further judgement and mental issues due to this? No your son didn't deserve to be shot and killed immediately, he deserved to have his face ripped off and left to live that way. So I agree with you there.

    Blame the world for your sons behavior that was his body but not his mind. Get real you are the reason why society still condemns your race. No accountability. The black men and women of this country that work hard and are accountable for their actions thank you for setting them back 200 years

    May 31, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  8. bretticus

    Definitely a zombie attack. I bet they have his body at the CDC now, and have tissue cultures going at this moment. Just like flu, where there is one, there are 50 others out there unseen. Katie, bar the doors. It's time to stack them like cordwood.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  9. inewt

    Doesn't really matter whether it was bathsalts or the bible that caused him to do this, both cause psychosis and evil.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  10. mercenary76

    it is best to shoot zombies in the brain case . tasers have no effect on zombies at all .

    May 31, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Gary in Tampa

    “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.

    Well, that explains a lot.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Charles Manson

    Rudy, I am your father.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  13. joel

    he just an excitable boy...

    May 31, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Roger_20

    “He loved God. He always read the Bible"-funny how so many killers and serial killer love god...I guess when you believe in an invisible man anything can happen! Yeah, he was a "very" nice man, god must have told him to do that!

    May 31, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Greg Kells

    They're all gristle and sinew.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
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