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. ECO Friendly

    He could have been tasered? He also could of been eating steak instead of eating another guys face.

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

    "Bath Salts blamed for brutal attack." Terrible headline. The bath salts didn't attack the guy, some crazy-ass psycho drug addict did.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Vicky B

    I can ever SO slightly understand a mothers angst in wanting her son to be alive. But in all honesty this guy was eating another mans face for 18 god damn minutes. He didn't stop and in all honesty who ever been in this kind of situation. The cop was correct in what he did!

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

    ....He ate someone's face. I don't think the fact he gave a nice mother's day card really makes up for...you know....eating someone's face....

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

    They had every right to shot this man. He was given fair warning and did not stop. He had inflicted enough pain on the poor victim. I am sorry her son is dead but it is not the police fault.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  6. zombieman

    I'm sure his Mom feels that way but what doesn't she understand about, "he was EATING his face!!!!"

    May 31, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Chuck Steak

    "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 sister of the victim should send "Mombie" a photo of her son's last meal!

    May 31, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Random

    this does NOT make him a zombie!!! Zombies are the dead coming back to life to eat on the flesh of humans, or the infected having a bad turn out who also feeds on human flesh! He could have just been crazy and thought to be a cannibal!!! The news always tends to take things WAYYYYY out of proportion having americans freak out for no reason!!!

    May 31, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anarkist4d2

      You left out the fact that zombies are purely fictional. How could this guy be something that doesn't exist?

      May 31, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Yum

    I can't remember which news site had the quote, but the officer that shot him said the first round went into his shoulder or back, and the guy looked up at the officer and growled at him. Yeah, a taser would have stopped him for sure.

    “That wasn’t him, that was his body but it wasn’t his spirit. Somebody did this to him,” WFOR quotes her as saying.

    I assume the man in the Ivisability Cloak was holding a gun to his head and made him eat that guys face off.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jenna

    Will somebody please show the zombie's mother a picture of the other man's face? Obviously she hasn't seen it. "My son was a good boy, and he love God". Maybe she could show some motherly love to the victim?

    May 31, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Rabbit One

    the mother raises a good point here about the questionable need to have killed the person. however in reading today i did learn that he gauged out the other gentleman's eye. so something immediate did need to happen to prevent the other man's further damage and death – maybe not a gun shot – but something

    May 31, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Sean in AZ

    Sooooo, when do we think mom is going to start yet another frivolous lawsuit? A taser would have stopped him? Really? Apparently, mom needs to read the police report, in which it was stated that several rounds did not even phase this, are you ready, ZOMBIE! Sorry, idiot mom, but that is what he was – a cannibalistic zombie under the influence of heavy duty narcotics. But I'm sure he was a nice kid who sent you a terrific Mother's Day card. What a tw@t. Grow up – your son was an awful man, most likely the product of bad parenting.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • RJ

      Wasnt actually narcotics... Narcotic is not a fill in synonym for drug people... Agree with the rest though, lol.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Daniel in Denver

    Sorry, but using a Taser on an attacker who is in direct physical contact with his victim also electrifies the victim. Good call by the Police Officer to shoot him.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • RugDog

      Well said.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Alex

    That explains it all...He saw the beard on poor Poppo and thought it was Jesus Christ. So he proceeded to you know..perform the holy sacrament...body and blood...starting with the face.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daniel in Denver

      Alex, that was rude, crude and insensitive. And, you know, funny.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  15. nokidz

    Such a good bible boy. Where did that picture come from, bible camp??

    May 31, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
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