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. hank bemis

    exactly james. this certainly smells like a false flag concoction to sway public opinion on the unpopular as ever war on drugs. and the mom is obviously confused on what people meant by zombie. she doesn't realize the alternative is drugs taken voluntarily. i think that's what she meant to say her son was not – a druggie. if you catch the zombie virus, it doesn't matter who you were, or what book you read!!!

    May 31, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  2. TheDude

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

    My baaaaby was an angel!

    May 31, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • nosferatu

      Lol.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • BornOnTheBayou

      Exactly!!!

      May 31, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • More Informed

      Truth.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ipmutt

    Your son is just another minless killer. There are at least 75,000 others that attempt this each year, some just need to be more dramatic than others and deserve death more so than most.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Fili

    First of all, aren't zombies supposed to be dead. He wouldn't be a zombie; he'd be a cannibal.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • BornOnTheBayou

      Thank you!

      May 31, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Cat 211

    Yes is was a zombie. The only way to kill a zombie is shoot it in the head....just like the cop did.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  6. HR4YOU46

    The mother's statement about her son is not a zombie should be forgiven. Mothers can't be objective about their children's heinous crimes. It's very difficult for most mothers to accept it when their child commits such an act, especially when they do not have a track record of engaging in serious crimes. Overcome with the grief of losing their child and/or the painful acknowledgement of the devastation their child has caused to the victim and his or her family, all a mother can do is reflect back in their child's developement, desperately looking for some clue to shed some light on why their seemingly sweet innocent child ended up doing something so horrible. It is not the fault of the police, and often the parenting of the perpetrator does not factor in the crime. This mother in time will realize that the only person responsible for this is her son.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  7. MargieM

    Ummmm.... he's a nice guy? That photo CNN posted is courtesy of the Miami Dade Police Dept!!! So he already had an arrest record at the very least, and likely a conviction!

    May 31, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Patrick Henry

    The "zombie apocalypse" has officially started folks. I wonder if the attacker had an Obama 2012 bumper sticker stuck on his backside.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • jk

      No he was a bain executive

      May 31, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alex

      Dude, he was feeding off the poor....he had to be a Republican.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Keith

    “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.

    Sounds crazy enough to me.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Ghostmule

    One thing is for certain, if you expect to survive the zombie apocalypse, you need to get in touch with reality. The reality is, tasering a zombie would be useless. If that cops had tasered him, it would have only enraged the zombie. If ive said ti once ive said it a million times, shoot them in the head, it's the only way.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bella Beauty

      Quit watching tv

      May 31, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Wonder

    Yes he was a zoombie nothing else to do in life

    May 31, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  12. south4evr

    I'll bet Mama is a zombie, too!! Hey Mom, everybody knows that a taser won't phase a zombie, you gotta shoot them in the head to re-kill them!!! Miami-Dade PD: Helping to make sure that the undead stay dead!!

    May 31, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Paulo

    If it rambles naked in the street like a zombie, and growls like a zombie, and eats a human like a zombie, well mom, your son was a zombie.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  14. SouthernReb

    A Black Zombie/Cannibal....well! I wouldn't had shot him withmy pistol....I would had just place the barrel of my tactical "Saiga" shotgun in his mouth, and tell him "Chew on this" while I pressed on the trigger....Damn it!!! Where is a black zombie when you need one?????

    May 31, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Bella Beauty

    Dear Realist

    No mother regardless of race, wants to ever imagine their child would do something so tragically imaginable....

    May 31, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
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