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. Pro Death

    I'm sure he did good in school too just like many other serial killers

    May 31, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Pete Bogs

    Four bullets to stop him and she thinks they could've used a Taser? It must be tough to be his mom right now, but she's in serious denial.

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

    Taser, shmaser... anybody who is buck naked and eating another person alive, and who growls at me like a feral animal when I order him/her off the victim (and continues eating) is getting shot. Period. In fact, all 12 of my rounds plus the one in the pipe are going into them... just to be sure.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Juggernaut8000

    Yes, he was and it was good he was killed. Tased? these apes usually go bananas when zapped and have you no remorse for the victim who had his face ripped off and eaten? Then only person to blame was the suspect who willingly took some horrific drug that made him more of an animal.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jen B

    Sounds like he was a schizo, and finally had a psychotic break.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Neeneko

    Ah ha! So it was the bible that was the cause of this! We must control access to this dangerous item at all costs!
    Oh, wait, that only works with new things.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Nekheny

    "He was no zombie. That was my son." vs. "That wasn’t him, that was his body but it wasn’t his spirit."

    That second one sounds an awful lot like a zombie to me.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • El Duderino (if you're not into the whole brevity thing)

      Wouldn't it be great if the perp said "brains" before he was shot?

      May 31, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fearz

      I don't know why this man ate a woman's face, but I have been dealing with psychotic symptoms for about the past four years. If I ever get crazy to the point that I am attacking someone in this manner, and I don't care the cause, kill me. Chewing someone's face off is not any kind of psychotic episode I wan't to live with or come back from.

      I like being alive, but if I've lost it to where I can't control my actions and my actions are harming someone else:
      Don't tase me
      Don't use chemical agents
      Don't try restraints
      Just aim for a major blood vessel or cluster of nerves and shoot

      May 31, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Alex

    He's a hero all right, the boys in jail are going to turn him into sausage hero when they get a hold of him...I'm sure there are several brothers holding onto their footlongs...waiting for his buns to come in.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  9. El Duderino (if you're not into the whole brevity thing)

    Does anyone know if the cop shot him in the head? I just want to know if our law enforcement is ready for the coming zombie apocalypse.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  10. tantamount

    He was an aspiring rapper and a great person- besides a few counts of beating his former girlfriend. Could happen to anybody.

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

    He loved God and read the bible??? It figures, believing in something that doesn´t exist, at least phisically, drives people insane.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  12. John Travolta

    the zombie apocalypse is happening and may god save us all because we know he didn't save Rudy Eugene

    May 31, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Vence

    He was a good kid on bad drugs!

    May 31, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  14. rainkettle

    That's called summary execution. If you want to live in a land where that's a legal and accepted practice, well, I hear that there are Chinese smugglers who can get you into North Korea.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jodi

      I agree with rainkettle.

      June 2, 2012 at 12:00 am | Report abuse |
  15. Mike

    In this bizarre instance, I believe the officers did the right thing in shooting Mr. Eugene since he was engaged in chewing apart the face of the victim and did not stop when he was told to. I believe in only using reasonable force, and in this case, to potentially save the life of the mangled victim, shooting rather than tasering appears reasonable. Mr. Eugene may indeed have been a very nice man in other times, but what he did to the victim was horrendous.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      What do we expect the low rent family and g/f of his to say? Of course the guy was insane and completely off his rocker. The cop did EXACTLY what he should have. If it was your family member being eaten would you have requested a taser? Come on lady. Your kid was crazy and now he's dead and can't hurt anyone else. Please don't have more kids.

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