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. Robert

    Tasers don't work on zombies.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  2. JB

    Greatest. Headline. EVER.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Sparky

    Dear Police Officer,

    If you are reading this please know that if I am ever having my face eaten by some nut, I would sincerely appreciate it if you shot him. (multiple times to sure)

    Thank you,

    Please don't eat my face.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  4. On Wisconsin

    Her son would have been subdued with a taser??? Sure.. as soon as he spit out this poor man's face.. Wake up lady.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Frank

    Yes, he was!

    May 31, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Not Fat

    Christian zombies. What next?

    May 31, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Peg

    The police DID taser this man - had no affect on him. This is the sickest crime I've heard of in a long long time.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  8. PAM


    May 31, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Naddina

    The Bible may have something to do with his inability to reason some go insane or are vulnerable it opens a pathway to evil and hate energy! EMF's are getting into the brain and triggering by the Illuminati they are the reptilians! wake up.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  10. On Wisconsin

    Sounds like mom is simply gearing up for a law suit.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • importanttopics

      She has a good point though. He was unarmed and naked. Why didn't they at least attempt to taze the guy? They taze everyone else. Why not him?

      May 31, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • jim

      What will she claim was her loss, 180 pounds of fertilizer?

      May 31, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mad

    This man was a Zombie. Whatever it was that turned him is what I'd like to know more about, I could care less about how long it took the police to arrive at the scene or why they didn't shoot him in the head. I don't buy any of this media BS, I think it's all a cover up and that people need to be more aware and learn how to defend themselves. Bath-salts?!? Really? That's a crock of Sh** honestly.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anarkist4d2

      You need to put down the comic books

      May 31, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jay

      People abusing drugs, losing touch with reality, and committing some insane heinous act (i.e eating someone's face) actually kind of makes a lot of sense. You have a better explanation?

      May 31, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sean in AZ

      To Importantopics (Sorry Mad – topics does not have a reply tab). You asked why he wasn't tazed when others are. Hmmm, let me think....oh that's right, HE WAS EATING ANOTHER MAN'S FACE OFF, you dolt. I can only imagine the horror scene that the first officer on the scene witnessed. I would double tapped him in the head – no question. A tazer is meant to subdue a situation BEFORE it reaches the face eating stage, just FYI.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  12. B1825

    any updates on the victims condition?

    May 31, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Remember Jeffrey Dahmer, he killed 17 boys and men, ate them and kept body parts and he was a WHITE man, so be very careful making racist remarks. Right back at you.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mr. Zombie

    Mr. Zombie, how many bites does it take to get to the Juicy Brain center of a Human Skull?
    Let's find out. A One... A two-GRRR... A three...
    (crunch sound effect)

    May 31, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Kat

    I'm sure the mother is quite distraught, but quite honestly, if I were ever to use drugs and eat someone's face off I pray the police shoot me to death. Imagine living with the knowledge you'd eaten someone's face.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
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