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. kitkat

    Although this is a tragic and bizarre case, we need to figure out why in the USA we have a homeless guy on the streets for 30 years! And please, no "he chose to do it comments". Also, watch next week we will probaly see Jesse Jackson or whoever defend the face eating wacko and have a press conference with the zombie's mother which they will then in turn sue the Miami PD for excessive force. Mom will get 5 million and the homeless victim (if he survives) will hopefully hire a good attorney to counter sue the mother.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Joe the Plumber

    How bad does your child have to be before you stop going on tv and saying "he was a good boy"? He chewed off a mans face! Better to keep your mouth shut and let the dust settle.

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

      I wonder what mom would say or DO if she caught him chewing the face off one of her grandchildren? Bet the story would be different then.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Hugh Jass

    Man, there sure are a bunch of zombies, trolls, and audreys stumbling around here today.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Carol

    But he was a good kid, and, even gave his mother a Mother's Day card, jeez come on. Perhaps mommy should have provided him a little more to eat!

    May 31, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Ben

    He WAS your son, But he turned into a zombie

    May 31, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jerry

    I am just glad the cop followed the rule and did a "Double Tap"

    May 31, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  7. just sayin.

    She really has no idea who her son was. Wasn't there another article just the other day and basically everyone that knew him said he had this mentality that the whole world was against him? That everyone was out to get him? That he was a user of serious hard drugs? I'm sure he was calm and put on a mask so to say around mommy, but let's face it...dude was a parnoid nutso....and a drug zombie.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jan

    I find it real funny that it's still believed a positive character trait that "he read the bible", singe must be good! Being a religious nut or reading the bible makes you no better than anyone else!!!

    May 31, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Johann

      You may be right, but neither does being a self-satisfied, atheistic moron.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Aisa @ 4 Us Naturals

    What a whacko. This honestly gives me nightmares. I woke up twice last night because I can't get the image out of my head. I don't think I could even claim him if he was mine. I would be so hurt and disgusted. I guess a mother has to love her kid but I can't love a murderer. Its too scary. As a matter of fact I believe the first article I read said that he was previously arrested for beating HIS MOTHER and threatening to kill her. He would have been dead to me after that and I wouldn't put anything past him after that. The mom and gf are just feeling lucky it didn't happen to them. BTW if he's so religious what is he doing taking drugs. I have been tricked into taking a hallucinogen before but I don't know if his high was unintentional.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  10. conradshull

    Mom, he was eating somebody.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  11. woodofpine

    Mom loves her boy, denies his ever being trouble... Even though in 2004 he was tasered by cops in domestic violence incident with mom when he threatened to kill her!

    No trouble!

    May 31, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dan

    he's dead.....end of story. ended how it should have!!! all the attention needs to turn to the unfortunate man, that had his face EATEN by another human being, while he was alive!!!! this guy would have ended up living in prison bleeding the system...oh wait he was probably living off the system anyway!!!

    May 31, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  13. JimmyMac

    He sounds like a really nice guy, a good son and a Christian... except when he's eating someone's face.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  14. south4evr

    Hey Sensisence (A.K.A. Dad),

    I grew up just like you and look what you did to me!! You must really hate yourself to flush me like that.

    BTW, Mom (Nancy Pelosi) is a zombie and she's gonna eat your face off, now!!!! MUNCH, MUNCH!! Bet she won't find any brains!!

    Love, Junior!!

    May 31, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  15. fuzzbutt

    "He was a good kid. He gave me a nice card on Mother’s Day." And yet he ATE 2/3rds of mans face off and she thought a taser would have enough to subdue him. Sorry Mama, but the Cop did the right thing. Zombie deserved to take 2 in the head.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
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