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. joe

    no, just no.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Brian K

    Zombies ate my neighbors

    May 31, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Eastcoast Kid

    Her son was high on "bath salts" ... the new crack that is many many times more powerful than cocaine and causes users to high like coke & have hallucinations like pcp...brilliant. It's a sad story for both victims. Even more sad for a mother who may (stress may) be looking to cash in on her son's death.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  4. j*****

    Lets blame the drug???? How about we blame the idiot that took the drug and Ate another humans face

    May 31, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Chris

    Not a zombie? You mean they're not real? His mother is not very bright. Perhaps we should have someone eat her face off and see what she thinks should happen when the cops say stop and they continue eating.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  6. AceGirlsHusband

    And by the way, Mom, it doesn't matter what Eugene was, or what he liked, or what you thought of him that got him shot. If you were the cop (or the cop's mom, in this case), you'd be singing a different tune, sweetheart.

    Oh, yeah, I forgot. You want to try and sue the city for a gazillion dollars now. Right? Aren't you lucky, huh? I guess Animal Boy is worth more dead than alive, huh? So now suddenly he was the sweetest, kindest, most gentle kid you've ever seen. Try and sell it to a civil jury. Let's see what happens after the jury is shown the reports and the video.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Correct You

    How dare you say something so rude and racist? There is nothing witty or amusing about what you have placed on this website, and it shows whomever looks at it your true character. It is disrespectful to tie an entire race into an issue when it is not necessary. African-Americans did not commit this crime, and we should not have to pay for any actions carried out by an individual. There should be prayer in your heart and repentance on your tongue. Without a doubt, this statement is racist whether you intended it to be or not, and you have disrespected an entire race of people.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Knight of the Living Dead

    Better Face it, zombie drugs are bad!! This is how the whole thing starts...

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

    best thing that mom could have done is to have urinated immediately after conception with this hood rat to flush out her insides to maybe there was a chance he would have been flushed down the toilet!

    May 31, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tex71

      That would have been a great idea if conception took place in the bladder.
      Back to Human Anatomy 101.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Wichita

    Guns don't kill people, Zombies kill people. I wonder where Al and Jessie are? They are probably going to form a rally since another black man was shot while committing a crime.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Eastcoast Kid

    One question for the mother: If your son was being eaten by the homeless guy, would you rather have had him tazered? And yes, your son was eating another human being and did not stop after being shot once.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • thomas

      you are so correct on can speak for me on this matter........................

      May 31, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  12. angryoldguy

    reading these comments makes me ask one question: Could this country get possibly MORE SICK? I sure as hell hope not! A guy does something unbelievable under the influence of a drug and everyone wants to compare it to a sad state of affairs in FLA? Have the commentators also taken the "Bath Salts" too! My God! Society has left the building!

    May 31, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  13. harry

    He does look a little zombi. The only brains are in his stomach.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  14. lollawsuits

    lol i didn't know if someone gets out of a car and asked me why i'm in their neighborhood = provocation enough to attack them. thanks for the info my fellow american. now i can go defend myself from questions i don't agree with more physically!

    May 31, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Angry Angel

    I just feel bad for the poor homeless guy. He had nothing before except his life. Now what is he going to do?

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