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. Al

    Good kids don't bite other people's face off.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  2. NHL Man

    Darwin got a 2-for-1 deal on this right here! Yippee!

    May 31, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Dennis

    "Bath Salts" did not cause this. The drug in "bath salts" is MDPV and while it's a stimulant it's not a hallucinogen and there are no reports of psychotic delusions or hallucinogens. The "bath salts" thing is FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) to make people fear a drug like MDPV. While I'm not advocating the use of drugs like MDPV, I also think there needs to be responsible comments and education because eventually people begin to see all the discussions as crying wolf and ignore real dangers because of hyperbolic warnings of the past.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • falcon7453

      You should go back to highschool chemistry class, while your at it also look at the K2 synthetic flip outs people have as well that you wouldnt get from the naturall herb stuff.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alison

      I bet what is left of my payccheck that this was substance induced psychosis. While maybe you have not experienced hallucination or delirium I employ you to be careful. i don't buy aplle juice from China more or less synthetic drugs. I evaluated a 19 yo in the Ed two months ago that was paranoid and delusional and was driving all over his parents yard. Could have hurt himself and someone else. Guess what? Purple power"glass cleaner" aka the new bateh salts. Beware this is not recreational it is Russian roueltte! Please don't try to convine people otherwise. Everyone reacts differently to various levels of substances jsut as with meds.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mandy

      Really, then how do you explain a man and his girlfriend plunging knives into their walls while their 5 year old was in the home because the 90 people they told the police were in the walls wouldn't stop talking to them. It was only a few months ago in the northeastern PA which has since made bath salts illegal. Look it up before you start spewing comments about something you obviously know nothing about.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jefffbo

    Yeah sure, they never are what they are, and they are never guilty for what they do. This is a classic example of a chimpp out

    May 31, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  5. jake

    The guy was black, all i got to say about that

    May 31, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris Redfield are like super observant. Perhaps you should be a detective smart guy

      May 31, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jessica

    Tase him? Really? He was chewing another human beings FACE OFF!!!! But I forgot, he gave you a mothers day card, so he's a good boy. Lord have mercy.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Tex71

    Lesson learned: If you don't want to be called a zombie, you should avoid eating bath salts (do they eat them or smoke them?) and chewing the faces off passersby.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jen

    Ah yes. Driven CRAZY by the bible. Because we all know the bible is far more corrupt than our own society could ever be. Infact I'm sure you've carefully read the Bible to know that it must be an extremely corruptable piece of literature that should be banned from our society since a portion of that society doesn't agree with it's teachings. My question is... If you believe in Evolution... why even care about what others believe? Instead of bashing those who believe it, why not simply live your life to the fullest extent since there is no after life? It seems rather senseless to constantly bash a religion, err 'Christianity' when if you believe it has NO chance in terms of whether it's a valid possibility or not that it could be true. I have no doubt there are religious wackos who aren't truly following their claimed faith, but really it's about who is in the drivers seat of that belief, not the religion itself that is usually the problem. Sorry for my ranting, but have any of you even seen how ridiculous this blind hate has gotten?

    May 31, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  9. i love and protect my family

    with all the respect if the tables were to turn and it would have been poppo chewing eugenes face off then what??? if you knew his history of agression and knew he was being injected with something why not get help do reasearch remember there are no limits when it comes to protecting your family

    May 31, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Brian

    Wont know for certain that drugs played a part till tests are done???? Too funny.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      Plenty of crazy, deranged killers snapped without the addition of drugs. Considering his history, I admit it is very likely... but certainly not definite. The human brain is very powerful... Maybe he got Rabies or Mad Cow disease. Certainly far less likely, but not out of the realm of possibility.
      Either way, I won't be surprised. Not sure I really care about the reason. Like Chris Rock said... What happened to the days when crazy people were just crazy?

      May 31, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • rftallent

      Isn't it possible too that he could have had an undiagnosed brain tumor?

      May 31, 2012 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Vivian

    Sorry, mom...he continued to eat the man's face even after the first bullet. No way a taser would've deterred him.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  12. M

    Internet Reader to Face-Attacker's Mom: Your son was a zombie and that's awesome.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  13. dave

    Ironically, he kind of looks like the main (non zombie) guy in the original Night of The living Dead.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  14. John

    I refuse to be a zombie, thus I will only take showers from now on.
    Down with Bath salts!!

    May 31, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Areacode612

    Mauled him like a bear!

    May 31, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
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