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. lauren

    taseed?? they tried that!!! I dnt think they need to count to three for face eatinging psychos.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Packman 1001

      But he was such a Fine Young Cannibal!

      May 31, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Loyal Northern Democrat

    If Obama had a son he would eat faces.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  3. south4evr

    If Obama had a son, he'd look just like Rudy! He'd be a zombie, Too!!

    May 31, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sensisence

      I had a son like YOU, flushed him this morning, hadn't thought of it since.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Captain Obvious

      If you had a son, he'd look like my poop. But but wouldn't be nearly as smart.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • me

      "south 4 ever" huh? Guess what? You lost the war. It wasn't even close. So take your ignorant, racist self to some swamp and jump in with gator bait smeared all over you. Hopefully those fish guts and blood will cover your filthy taste enough the gators can keep you down. The rest of us white folks are embarrassed by worthless morons like you.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hugh Jass

      "If Obama had a son" You are making an audrey of yourself.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Josh

    The man was homeless what can we conclude from that? Seems like the mother didn't care for him until the disturbing news.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hey You

      The victim was homeless, not the attacker.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • kitkat

      Again, someone posts a comment without a clue about the story! The attacker was not homeless! Read before commenting!!!!!

      May 31, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Pearl0808

    "The cops didn't have to shoot him". Well, he didn't have to eat someone's face off, so there ya go. And yes, I'm sure he was under the influence. I HOPE he was, otherwise, explain that one. How can you even DEFEND him in what he did?? I have a son, too, and if he was eating someone's face off like that, I'm not sure I'd WANT him to survive. Imagine what that poor guy went through for 18 grueling minutes!! Thank goodness he was unconscious.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Fred

    Thank goodness for Hornady Zombie Max ammunition!

    May 31, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Loyal Northern Democrat

      Excellent! My complements! 🙂

      May 31, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • south4evr


      It's obvious, you know your anti-zombie munitions!! Hornady is the best!!

      May 31, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. coyolxauhqui

    I guess she needs to give Al Sharpton a call, now that she's made it clear that her son was a nice kid and the police over stepped their bounds in shooting him. probably because he was a 'minority'. not because he was being excessively violent and eating a man's face.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hey You

      Definitely a case of profiling and persecuting a minority – cannibals are in the minority (I hope).

      May 31, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Hugh Jass

    "He was a sweet kid, he was nice to old ladies, he even carried spiders out of the house on a newspaper. But boy, you let him near a cranium and it's yum yum, eat-um up time."

    May 31, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Zombie2012

    If the "zombie" was on top of the man he was eating and the officer tased him the man on the floor who is elderly and already had most his face removed would have been tased as well as the "zombie". This mother has no case. Maybe her son was son was reading the bible as he took hits of bath salts cause thats the only way a person could take the bible for the word of god.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  10. south4evr

    The Zombie Apocalypse is here! MUNCH, MUNCH, I WANT BRAINS!!!!

    May 31, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Canadian Mrs

    Two things – 1) To hell with tasing someone who is eating another mans face off. Would you want to come back to reality, and be told what you did while under the influence if it was this type of situation? Hell no. Shooting him was merciful, as well and just.
    2)Why does everyone always have this insistant need to play the blame game? Oh it was his bible obsession that did this.. oh it was the devil.. oh, it was his mother who didnt feed him enough red meat as a child. The guy went mental, he was homeless and due to his OWN actions, put himself in a position where this tragedy happened, IE he ingested a drug that is known for hallucinations, and altered reality. No one force fed him this, he did it himself. Quit blaming everything else for this, how can anyone justify blaming his mother? I mean, her comments on this situation, can you blame her? No one raises a psycotic cannibal on purpose. See if for what it is, a mother who is in deep shock over what her baby did. Shes probably half out of her mind with grief and guilt herself. She needs support, not a lynch mob.

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

      umm you are not reading the story right-the zombie dude is not homeless

      May 31, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • kitkat

      Canadian Mrs, let's wait for the toxicology report, we have no I mean no proof of drugs as of yet-stick to the facts or stay in Canada please!

      May 31, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rose B

      I was waiting for anyone to make a comment like that and of course it is a Canadian, thank you from a fellow Canuck. This poor mother will never be the same.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  12. DarthPlunger

    Well mom. Your sons actions tell a different story.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  13. cooled

    The guy was supposedly carrying the bible everywhere he went-alarming to say the least. Like physically holding the bible guarantees he cannot possibly do any harm.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mark from Canada

    "“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 this is a good thing? Usually this is where this kind of craziness is manifested. When you believe in delusional ideas it is simpler to believe in other delusional ideas of equal merit, such as thinking that zombies are a real thing that you can become or the devil made him do it. All these things are delusional and can lead to aberrant behaviour. A good dose of understanding reality keeps us grounded and gives a moral compass that is reliable and steadfast.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Repstyle

    Funny how all the concern from mom and GF go to Eugene and none for the victim.

    Speaking of...I hope they are watching for any "changes" to Poppos condition. The had better have him in restraints.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
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