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. Chris

    The Zombie Apocalypse has begun. To anyone that suggests otherwise- did you hear the one about the zombie-guy in Florida that ate another guy? Prepare or Parish.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  2. thedude10``

    SERIOUSLY!!?!? Trying to blame the cops for shooting him!! It wasnt the cops fault was the bullets fault. Go cry to the bullet about your psycho face eating son.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Just when you think news can't get any worse...

    Something out of Dante's inferno... this was demonic for sure... Whether thsse demons came from hell or from this mans sick and vile drug induced soul does not matter. All that matters is that this was real.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Arthurrrr

    no way just some drug did this. pure demonic possession -plain and simple.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  5. roman1descent

    the mother is the mother of a wolf,man??? what is going on in her brain?? It is a good thing this zombie wolfman was killed. Is she jealous he did not eat her? Stupid beyond belief!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! she had better not reproduce....

    May 31, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  6. BigSir

    "The devil made him do it" – Flip Wilson

    May 31, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  7. vp

    "Somebody did this to him"

    Unless somebody snuck the drugs into him, he did this to himself.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Nicole

    His family says that he always read the Bible. I guess he missed the don't do drugs chapter.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • DefyTheGods

      There's a chapter in the Bible that prohibits drug use?!...LOL

      May 31, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      Actually there are anti-drug messages in the bible. The term Pharmaceutical comes from the Greek Pharmacaia (sic) which means Black Magic. In the bible days, the use of drugs was considered deviltry.
      Never heard of an anti-drug chapter. I've read the bible enough times to know it is just early man's attempt to explain natural phenomenon. No offense to you Christians out there... I'm one of the few Agnostics who support your right to worship however you feel! Religion is not really dangerous... The misuse of religion is dangerous. Border disputes are far more common reasons for war. That and jealousy... I want what you have.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  9. DefyTheGods

    How "good" could he have been, if he was experimenting with illegal drugs as dangerous as "bath salts". Someone please confirm, as I've heard that Rudy had been shot twice, and that the first shot didn't phase him. Under the influence of bath salts, the user is in a crazed state of rage. I doubt that a taser would have been of much use. If I were the officer, this would have ended no differently. I still can't believe this actually happened. What cop is prepared to see something like that?

    May 31, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Canadian Mrs

      the sad fact is they are not illegal. you can find them in any smoke, cigar and head shop out there pretty much.They need to be MADE illegal and removed from stores.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Just when you think news can't get any worse...

    didn't have to shoot him his mother says.... no they had to shoot him several times before he stopped. I greie with any mother...but damn.... there are limits.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Syd

    I remember in one report they were saying he was on "fake marijuana" So stupid..

    May 31, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  12. roman1descent

    Where is the mother and son from? Is it Haiti? If yes I am not surprised one second. This behaviour cannot be tolerated one fraction of a second.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • DefyTheGods

      Your comment is so silly. This was drug-induced. Was it not? Besides, I'm haitian and neither my mom nor any other haitian mom I knew ever served their kids the face man or beast for dinner. LOL....From what I've read, this drug has the effect of raising body temperature drastically. The brain literally cooks in its own juices. This explains the nudity and crazed behavior.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  13. redone

    If he was such a nice guy, why is there a mug shot on this article and why won't either mother or girl friend give their names? If he was so nice, why is there a man in the hospital with no face?

    May 31, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Sarah

    Another article regarding this story said that Rudy Eugene had an arrest record going back to when he was 16... mostly misdemeanors, but also a battery charge that was later dropped. Is he _really_ such a "nice kid", mom? And the girlfriend, saying somebody did this to him? Really? Somebody inhabited your boyfriend's body, and made him go eat someone's face? No, what actually happened is that your perfect son/boyfriend got into drugs that made him delusional and eat someone's face off. That behavior would've been very difficult and dangerous for police to handle - shooting him, while perhaps unfortunate for those who knew him, was the only real choice. I understand that parents, family and friends want to see only the best in their loved ones, but stop making excuses and come to terms with the fact that your kid/bf did a bad thing.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jimmy

    “That wasn’t him, that was his body but it wasn’t his spirit. Somebody did this to him,” Exactly ZOMBIE!!!! thats what a Zombie is duh. I dont know about you guys but im gearing up this is crazy.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
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