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. Chut Pata

    Blacks can be shot to death for carrying skittles, and this guy was chewing a white man's face. Although he might be a republican who hates poors. Choices between a poor man and a black man? Black man will lose here too!

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

      That's the best you can come up with?

      May 31, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Wake up lady....

    Your son wasn't a zombie but he was obviously hopped up on something. And no, a taser wouldn't work. If a bullet didn't stop him, a taser would have been useless. As a parent, I'm sure it embarrassing that your child would do something like this.....but it would appear he has done just that.

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

    The President of the United States has absolutely nothing to do with this attack, and it is a shame that you do not have more respect for your country and its leaders, which was obvious in that statement. President Obama does not have a son, and you are not God; therefore, you would not know what he would look like. This statement was disrespectful, and you should gain some respect for your country and a handful of decorum.

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

      Thats a good point there about who looks like what.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Duffey

    Gacey loved his mom too. Get a grip lady.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Colbert

    The police officer did a double tap. He must have watched Zombieland.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Robert

    Why are there Zombies COming I am Scared 😦

    May 31, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Johnny 5

    ANYTHING can happen in Miami.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  8. amos

    Lady, if you think your boy was "nice" you're two bubbles of a plumb and that's a flat fact. Don't invite me to dinner. Let's just say I'd never turn my back on you with a fork and knife in your hand.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  9. marco

    Maybe they can call on Shapton and start the Rudy Eugene memorial?

    May 31, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dvoraszenik

    This makes a total of at least 4 zombies now, the media is not covering the full extent. Miami, Maryland, New Jersey, and Los Angeles. Search it yourself, Google is trying to hide the results. You need to search deeper.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael Brown

      Not just there, but in Texas, a woman ate her infant's brains.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Too Jay

    Yet obviously you took the time to read this story.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  12. TheDude

    My baaaaby! My baaaaby!
    Why they gotta shoot my baaaby!
    It wasnt drugs, it was skittles and an iced tea!

    My baaaaby!

    May 31, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • gregg

      i feel your pain. i , too am tired of these overprotective parents who allow their over 40 babys live at home.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Rojopa

    Once again we have the usual 'my son wouldn't hurt a fly" bull c r a p. Your son was a cannibal on drugs who is now dead. What would he have done next if he wasn't killed? Most likely he would have killed an innocent person and then what would mother be saying? Cry me a river.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jolgar

    Every mother's son is a nice and good son!

    May 31, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Sean

    Good kids don't use heavy narcotics like the one he was on. They don't growl at cops. And the sure as heck don't eat someone else's face off. Both his mother and his girl friend need some serious time in therapy because they are in denial. Use a taser my rear... I bet if it was their face he was chewing out, which it easily could have been, they wouldn't have hesitated to plead for someone to shoot him in the head. On a more important note... what is up with this drug? Find the supplier and shoot him in the face.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael Brown

      Either it's LSD or bath salts...and bath salts aren't exactly a "drug" you buy from a dealer.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael Brown

      Correction....PCP rather.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
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