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. ZombieHunter2012

    Job well done police! Keep an eye on the infected man...make sure he doesn't turn as well!

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

    PARENT FAIL!

    May 31, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Flip Flop Mittens

      NOM NOM NOM

      May 31, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jules432

    Rudy Eugene says, "He was a good kid." - Yeah, but he was eating someone's face off. -
    "He gave me a nice card on Mother’s Day." - Yeah, but he was eating someone's face off. -
    "(He) could have been subdued with a Taser rather than gunfire." - YEAH, BUT HE WAS EATING SOMEONE'S FACE OFF. -
    Girlfriend: "He always read the Bible..."

    May 31, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ZombieHunter2012

    Job well done police! Now to keep an eye on the gentleman who was attackted to make sure he doesn't also turn!

    May 31, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Burbank

    I can't believe all these whiny family members of people that commit heinous crimes lately! They always say they shouldn't have shot them or whatever. I wonder if Mom would be saying this if it was HER face he was eating!

    May 31, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • ck69

      This is a mother grieving and trying to find some meaning in her child's death, good, bad or otherwise. It is unfortunate that our law enforcement comes under attack while doing what they are trained. As well, it's unfortunate that media validates these justifications.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ck69

    Regardless of what did or didn't happen and who should have done what, my heart goes out to the family members and friends of both, Eugene and Poppo. They are now left w/ heartbreak and questions that may never be answered.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  7. David

    Why does everyone have to say they're Xtian or carry a bible around to claim they're good little boys and girls. Ridiculous. The most people I've met and that have been on the news are hate filled people bent on violence.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Gordie

    Did he have any good drops? I'm looking for wizard items for D3

    May 31, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Michael Stout

    I feel for any good mother protecting her son, but this guy was acting like a maniac and he deserved what he got. Have you seen the guy who lost most of his face? In this world when you act like a madman you don't get based, you get killed. Sorry for your loss, but the cops saved the other man's life and did exactly what they should have done.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Sick

    For someone high on drugs, a taser might not have worked. Just like people on meth, they become 'invincible' where it takes multiple people to restrain them even to the point where the addict is harming their own body without any pain to realize it.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Rig A Mortis

    I heard the inside of the mother's day card said:
    Agh, guh, ooooo, Agh
    Nom, Nom, Nom
    Grah, Nom, Brains.

    Love,
    Rudy

    May 31, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  12. mjdaniels

    His mom must not seen the tape or the pictures, cause it look like he was a zombie to me!

    May 31, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Chris

    Everyone knows you shoot zombies, not taze them!!!! Seriously, though, this is a terrible situation. For the victim, the officer who had to shoot the attacker and lastly for the attacker and his family. unfortunately, the blame game ends here. no one made him take drugs.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  14. rabs

    a bible reading kid on drugs. amen

    May 31, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  15. David

    Prime example of raise your children right and they will give you peace of mind in your adult years

    May 31, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
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