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. cutedog2

    If this were my child, I would not want to believe that he would be capable of such a thing either. However if it required multiple gun shots to stop the attack, a taser would not have touched him. My condolences for the loss of this mother's son. I am sure he was a nice man when he was not on drugs. Perhaps some of the mother's sorrow can be resolved in aiding to improve the life of the man her son destroyed.

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

      Thank you. Someone with compassion for the mother. She's not the criminal here, so I'm not sure why she is being attacked by so many others on here. I am certainly not condoning his actions, but neither is she. She is simply describing the son she knew. Any person who is a mother would understand her denial of the situation. It's completely unreal to all of us, imagine her.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Terry

      Well, one of the few reasonable and humane posting I've seen lately.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bobama

    He looks like Bobama...ummmm

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


      Was the the sound of your brain flat-lining?

      May 31, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anvs

      You're so hilarious.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Dennis Slapper

    He was the son of hatian immigrants.He was just returning to his roots.What else would you expect from voodoo hatians ? Success ?

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

      How incredibly disgusting of you to defame and generalize an entire nation to justify your ignorance.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Rev J Jackson

    If we are to heal as a nation,
    We have to deal with this Zombie situation,
    Don't blame face eating minorities,
    Blame Governtment Food Stamp priorities!
    As we come together to hold hands,
    Let those Zombies nibble them like a can of spam.
    Forget the problems of the past,
    Free at last, let the Zombies be free at last!!!

    May 31, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  5. russellQbones

    He was just starting to turn his life around. Surprised CNN isn't using his 5th grade photo along with this story.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dave

    How do you know the homeless man didn't provoke him? Would it make a difference? Is provocation a license to assault, smash heads into sidewalks, or chew faces off?

    May 31, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  7. jamie

    “That wasn’t him, that was his body but it wasn’t his spirit. Somebody did this to him,” said his mother.

    what do you call a mindless, aggressive person without a spirit who eats the flesh of the living? a zombie!

    May 31, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  8. jj

    Let's cut her some was her kid for cryin out loud...she has to feel that way. What's she gonna say.."I knew he was gonna grow up to be a zombie"...of course not...everyone wants to love their kids.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Terry

      Amen !

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

      Everybody knows you don't grow up to be a zombie, you become a zombie from infection.....duh!!!

      May 31, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Bobama

    He was obama's brother from Kenya...

    May 31, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  10. gen622

    A similar case I saw in the news in Asian a couple weeks ago: a man on his way to work in the early morning was attacked by a "mad man" that goggled his eyes out and cut his nose off by a piece of broken glass. The attacker ran away when a bus approached. The victim was able to call home from the cell phone. This is not an isolated case. Something extreme is going on.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  11. RichWW2

    Everyone is a good kid till they are running around naked trying to eat a homeless man.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  12. DontPretend

    Nice kid, huh? Strange the cops already had a mugshot on file for this "nice" kid

    May 31, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  13. coderjones

    as if people who believe in god or reads the bible – are incapable of atrocities

    you dont remember the crusades – the salem witch hunts – or something more modern, like priests raping little boys....

    Religion is a man made excuse used for justification – that's all – not a reason.....

    May 31, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bobama

      yeah right have you heard about Stalin?

      May 31, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • pedro

      you clearly dont know what you are taking about lets take for example hitler, the soviet union, china who hate God and are evolutionist kill millions. not everyone that says is a christian is christian. those who kill in God's name are not christians at all, the bible condemns it proverbs 6 the lord hates hads that sheds inocent blood, so do your research before start judging. this guys was clearly under something strange who are we to judge look at yourself first before judging others.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  14. WMD

    I'm glad they shot him, one less nut in the world capable of doing such horrible things.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Rita Kickpuncher

    What if a white man did this to a black man ? I think the coverage might be a biiiiiiiiiiiiitttttttt different.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Burbank

      Probably not. Why are you trying to make this a race issue? It's got nothing to do with it. Did your welfare check not show up and you are in a bad mood or something?

      May 31, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • DontPretend

      Jeffrey Dahmer ring a bell?

      May 31, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Art

      Drugged up face eater.......still higher on the humanity chain than an internet troll.........

      May 31, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
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