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. jj

    What's all this talk about Rob Zombie?

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

    Whiny Mom needs to point that finger at her own chest, not the police! She raised him and it's easy to see why it was a parent fail. No responsibility taken whatsoever. The world would have been a better place if she had kept her legs closed!

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

    If Miami parties like this after a Game 1 or Game 2 win, I'm not sure that I want the Heat winning an NBA Championship.

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

    He thought he was the jesus zombie! blood and body of christ!

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

    Every zombie was some mama's baby. They went to school. They got baptized. They sent flowers to that nice girl they liked. They had dreams of what they were going to make of themselves one day.

    Then they got bit and turned into a zombie.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anon E Moose

      You say this as if it were a negative.

      Always look to the positive side of life / unlife, I sez!

      Something like this is a move UP the food chain.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Kathleen

    I am sorry, but humans are animals. If you see an animal mauling a human it is taught to shoot to kill. If you see a bear mauling someone on a sidewalk or anywhere you shoot it. If you have a man mauling someone and growling. You shoot them. HE ATE 75% OF SOMEONES FACE!!!

    May 31, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Count Yob

    Did Eugene's mother express any concern or sorrow for her son's victim? Any? At all?

    May 31, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Barry Smartknuckles

    When you pay too much for cable, you get bored.When you get bored, you inhale bath salts.When you inhale bath salts,you see things.When you see things,you eat peoples faces.Don't eat peoples faces.

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

      Awesome, just awesome.

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

    He was a nice kid, so polite. He never chewed with his mouth open.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  10. parisin3d

    I'm pretty sure that if they had tased him and after he sobered up and realized what he had done, he'd wish they'd shot him dead. I wouldn't want to live if I had done something like that.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  11. lol

    Lol at her saying he was nice because he gave her a nice card.... Lol

    May 31, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  12. jar_pet

    Here's to the Celtics. Go Boston!

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

    Duh! Of course she's going to say her son wasn't a zombie. He wasn't until you get bit by one.

    We're missing the bigger point here. The Zombies are finally here. It's just like the movies. A fine upstanding bible carrying guy get's bit and then starts eating the faces of other people, who in turn eat the faces or more people. Then the few remaining people run for their lives and hold up in buildings.

    Everyone's acting like typical zombie behavior is unusual. Haven't we all seen the movies???

    One final thought. I would be keeping a serious eye on the guy recovering in the hospital. He's SURE to start eating some faces..

    May 31, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • lobbyistgrl


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

      Did you hear about the guy who used a knife and cut himself open and tossed his guts... literally at the cops.

      Wonder what kind of drugs are on the streets now days... zombie drugs?

      May 31, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Trudy Fancypants

    Just another example of black on white crime.What else would you expect ? It's what THEY do.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  15. JEM

    If the first bullet did not bring him down, what good would a Taser have done.
    There are many cases of police using excessive force and outright brutality every day, but this is not one of them.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
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