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. Texman

    Really? A great son and friend of mankind right up to the day he decided to eat 75% of a guy's face off.

    Where are Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson when they are needed. I bet they could have stopped the face eating frolic.

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

    they need to outlaw bathsalts and spend more time enforcing against them and other dangerous substances like meth and cocaine

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

    OK, so CNN.... Why did you just yank 2 comments that held no reason to be censored? Are you censoring everthing I say or is your website that is still broken 4 years after letting Facebook take over screwing up again. I can't believe how greedy and cheap you are about maintaining your site. You make millions! I guess just about all of it must be going to line the pockets of your executives with their bottomless greed! Now yank this! LOL!

    May 31, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Crack

    I i had a son, and my son was a zombie, he would look like Rudy Eugene.

    ~ Barack Obama

    May 31, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Count Yob

    He wasn't a "nice kid" when he was chewing a man's face off and even the first bullet wasn't able to stop him. He just growled and kept munching until the cop shot him a few more times. Saving the life of the victim outweighed any consideration for the perp.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Burbank

    Another whiny parent fail! Big Time!

    May 31, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  7. OhNoYouDitnt

    Dis homie wunt no zombie.He wuz gone be a lawyer and represent otha misundastood black peoples.Da white man jus shoot him fo no reason.Dey alwayz doin dis.We needs ta march fo dis guy.We wunt justice you jive turkey coppers.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • James

      Good God... Learn to spell like a human being!!

      May 31, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Imbecile

      Do you think responding to stupidity with idiocy is productive?

      May 31, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • really

      I really don't think someone who can't even write in english should really be discussing their ignorant racist values on this story. The cop did what they felt needed whether their white, spanish, black, etc. This kind of response is what keeps racism alive and is unneeded.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • mom of 4 sons

      He was her son and no mother wants to see their child gunned down. This guy had some type of drug in his system that clearly caused him to respond the way he did. He was a human being first. He was not a zombie. He was a man, somebody's son, I am praying for both victims and their families. And I will be praying for all the insenitive people who are are so careless with their words that they can't see any further then the hype that newspapers use to drum up customers. If all us of would take time to care about our brother's people wouldn't have to turn to drugs to feel good. He was a man.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Walking Dead Fan

      Learn to talk like a human, not like a Zombie.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Dave

    "a nice kid" who could have been subdued with a Taser rather than gunfire."

    Um.. He was EATING A MANS FACE!

    "...He was no zombie.” said the mother.

    Again, He was EATING A MANS FACE!

    May 31, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bobama

      It was a racist attack...oh wait...the victim was white...then he was really baked....

      May 31, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Josh

    I assume his mom taught him to chew the faces of people he eats, well, before swallowing them.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  10. MissKitty

    I'm sure the mother wanted him to be tased because when he died from that, she would have someone to sue.

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

      Riiiiight... because she couldn't sue now if that was her intent.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  11. WillardMcDillard

    This man was a misunderstood angel.His parents did a tremendous job raising him.He was going to be an astronaut and build planets with his bare hands.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rudy Eugene R.I.P.

      Actually, I heard Rudy Eugene already built 7 planets and invented a cure for 12 different forms of cancer.
      I also heard that 5 minutes before devouring the victim's face, he farted a double rainbow and bred the first Unicorn.

      He
      will
      be
      missed.....

      by nobody.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. WAKE UP MADAM

    If the mother and the girlfriend can recall, he was shot once and groweled at the police officer THEN! proceeded to finish feeding. ALL CAUGHT ON TAPE. Apparently, bath salts are used in the family. Oh and leave God out of this!!!

    May 31, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Duane

    And as predicted here comes the lawsuit

    May 31, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Lew

    Considering they shot the guy once and it didn't do anything until they shot him the second time – I doubt a taser would have done the trick.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Josh

    "“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."

    Possibly he thought the other guy was Jesus, and was only practicing holy communion? Was there any sacramental wine around too?

    May 31, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
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