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. bob

    " He deserved to be tased" ?????? he should have had the flesh stripped from his body, salt rubbed on the wounds and beaten to death from the feet up.

    they have pictures of his victim right after the attack on Gawker - gruesome ...

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

    A mothers love but but if it had been her son that was attached in an 18 minute struggle she would saying "Why did they waste time with a taser why didn't they just shout him" That is one drug I hope that does no catch on for sure.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  3. You are in denial !

    If you eat someones face off and they are alive! You are an Zombie! If the police had use the taser on him and got infected with blood .He would have turned into a Zombie! Then Miami would have been sued! saved tax dollars money! Is there any sure fire way to keep him in the ground or will he come back again? I'll go back to Fla, again .Just not the Zombie infected area!

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

      If anything they should have decapitated him. Shooting a zombie only render's it imobile for a brief period of time. There should be public outcry that these cops are not properly trained to kill zombies. What if there was an entire hoard?

      May 31, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  4. jon

    So The president of the fraternal order of police (is he even an actual cop?) is able to come to the conclusion it is was bath salts as well as to say it was some new "potent form of LSD" without even seeing a toxicology report? Wow! he must be some new super cop.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  5. WakeupCall

    I wonder if the bullets were silver.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  6. kenzie ellen

    If you sk me he is an escped zombie contined by the goverment........just sayin(;

    May 31, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Chaz

    For somereason this reminds me of a really cool song call..."ZOMBIE NATION"

    May 31, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Barry

    So tired of parents,relatives, looking to blame the police because their kids do crazy things. What did she want the cop to do when he came upon the scene of the guy eating this other's guys face? "pardon me do you mind I need you to stop doing that? If you don't I might have to taze you. I wonder what drugs the mom's on. Lady get real, the cop was doing his job and we need to be thankful that we have people willing to be cops.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kathleen

      You're right Barry. Wonder how she would have felt had he ate her face. But then he gave her a nice Mothers Day card. BFD.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ellen

      I agree 100% parents always say he was an alter boy, a good boy, a nice man, well momma your nice holy boy ate someones face how is that nice? This is not the son you raised this is the son who was high on drugs not the same person.....

      May 31, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yep

      Excellent reply.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rocky Mountain

      But remember, the cop did ask him to stop but not in the nice terms that you suggestted and the guy growled and kept on. I know she must be hurting but is it too much to ask to think about what he did to the poor guy he attacked?

      May 31, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  9. tom

    Very sad story. Mom's always love their kids no matter what they do and you can't blame them. Until the toxcology report comes back, no one knows for sure what caused him to act the way he did. The article did NOT explain what bath salts were. We are curious about that.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Miss Y

      "The article did NOT explain what bath salts were. We are curious about that."

      Well, there is this thing called GOOGLE where – it you don't know what something is – you can find out in about three seconds. Living under a rock?

      May 31, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Md

      There have been numerous articles on "bath salts" on CNN and other news sites. They are drug purchased at head shops, extremely toxic, and ever changing in formula to avoid FDA banning. They've been banned in many other countries. Maybe if good old fashioned mushrooms or peyote were legal people would just be happy to munch on those, listen to some Pink Floyd and call it a day instead of ingesting some crazy form of mystery chemicals and eating another person's face off.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  10. BermudaBound

    Delusional parent alert: "Good kids" do not chew off someone's face!

    May 31, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Danny

    I am sorry, they totally did right by shooting him. I don't care if he read the bible 1000x front and backwards it doesn't excuse his deed. Just because you were a nice person doesn't mean you don't have evil in you. I am a parent and if my child would have did something like this, I couldn't take up for them. point blank. The deed was past evil and anybody capable of doing it is better off dead like he is.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  12. o2psd4me

    Sorry Lady... If your some "was a good boy" as you state.. He would not og been eating the mans face.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Tony Wenner

    Is it possible that he mixed Medical Marijuana with the Bath Salts?

    May 31, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Really?

      Yeah the medical marijuana and the bath salts made him have the munchies so he ate a guys face.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Brent Diamond

    they can take anything bad that happens and say it was because of drugs, and people will still do drugs, so maybe it's time for a new strategy.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  15. iknowrock

    Bible, anyone?

    May 31, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
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