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. Captain Obvious

    His tombstone should read: Beloved Son and Christian Zombie

    May 31, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Roger Ogilvy Thornhill

    I HATE that cliche "yadda yadda MUCH". Where does that annoying phrase come from? TV?

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

      well it is over done...but it's one of the great quotes of TV history...try that new thing called Google before you rant!

      May 31, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ct

      IT was on Seinfeld. Jerry and this girl climbed into the back of a car and yadda yadda yadda she had crabs

      May 31, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  3. J.C.

    "“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.

    And in his right hand, some Old Bay seasoning. That way he could say grace and then eat without having to waste time with cooking.

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

    Yes he is a zoombie look at his picture nothing else to do in life but eat flesh

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

    Am really sorry that the mom is grieving......but I'd of come across that situation, I'd of shot him too!!!!! The guy was chewing off the other guys face for goodness sake......

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

      What's better really, dead or doing twenty years for brainlessly chewing off a face? When he sobered up he'd have been suicidal. We had a local boy who smoked some of that stuff and beat his girl to death within one minute, then snapped out of it and saw what he was doing. He was sawing at his wrists when the ambulance got there.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  6. bfd007

    Par for the course here in the third world of south Florida people still actually think Ashtray was this little innocent kid just minding his own affairs when facts say different. Now this innocent bible carrying young man eat's a guy's face off and the relatives say it could not have been, he was so nice and kind and gentle,,,,so what happened? Maybe Demonic forces made him do it ?

    May 31, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Roger Ogilvy Thornhill

    Anyway, key phrase "WAS no zombie". Yes, all zombies were not zombies at some point. Yecchh!

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

    Yep I agree with your comment

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

    Probably he was watching too much fox news and wanted to take the face off a socialist depepdent homeless person

    May 31, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  10. USA401

    If I saw a man chew another mans face off and didnt stop at the threat of being shot I would have fired too.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Roger Ogilvy Thornhill

    Stand your ground - Face-eating freaks - A visit to Disneyworld / Epcot Center has dropped off my radar.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Loyal Northern Democrat

    Thank goodness he is dead and we do not have to pay for his room and board. Where is Al Sharpton? Where is Jesse Jackson? Where is Marion Barry?

    May 31, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Darren Brantley

    Really? He was a good kid and did not need a bullet to be subdued? He had just chewed a mans FACE off. He deserved to die, whether by a bullet, or by lethal injection. You have to be a really sick and twisted person to chew a man's face off!

    May 31, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Chris

    Being Christian and reading and knowing the Bible has *precisely* zero to do with being "good".

    May 31, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  15. mom of zombie

    I wonder if she breastfed,, you know that does make better citizens and that oh so unbreakable bond with mom....no matter what shenanigans your kids are up to....they'll always send a card.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
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