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. Canadian Mrs

    Its been told over and over that due to his actions, the perp was indeed homeless and living on the street, I wouldnt have posted such if I hadnt been about 95% sure that it was correct info, then again with every little fact being blown out of proportion in this, who known for sure. and 2, bath salts are again, what the media is saying the perp had ingested, or so they think, Im not taking anything out of context in saying what i did about drug induced craziness. Trust me, with all this going on in the states, I sure as heck want to Stay in Canada1 We have body parts mailed to us, it seems a tad bit less graphic then seeing someone get their face eaten off.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • wes j

      Seems like you're too stoned to get your thoughts out and thank you for staying in Canada. I'll taser you myself if you ever try to come here.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  2. MD

    This goon looks likes he is ready to enjoy a nice glass of Chianti and some Fava Beans....

    May 31, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rebecca

      J. R. Ward?

      May 31, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      Just spit milk out of my nose!! LOL That was good.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • dave

      luckily he didnt have time to get to the liver

      June 1, 2012 at 2:08 am | Report abuse |
  3. Belladreamz

    The man keep eating the guys face after he was shot the first time and she thinks a taser would have stopped him? Really? He got shot – looked up and growled at the police officer and went back to eating face! It is sad truly and as a parent who lost a son... I know the heartache but the officer took the appropriate steps and we don't need to keep comparing this to Trayvon! No comparison.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  4. MAria

    He may have been nice and God fearingbut that doesn't mean he was NOT a drugg addict trying to clean up his life. Who is to say? He obviously got a bad batch of something. Whose to say she and the mom aren't a 'little off' in the head?? The devil is busy that def is work of some type of demon

    May 31, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  5. S-Hug

    This article speaks volumes about the Bible and its followers.
    "Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you."

    May 31, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Agnim

    "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,”"

    That's it!
    He is no Zombie, just full of biblical bull! lol

    There is so much violence lessons in the bible; it should BE BANNED from younger/weaker minds!

    May 31, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  7. AtheistHuman

    In Russia, face.... ohhhh what's the use?

    May 31, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Dave

    So, where is the NAACP oops Freudian Slip, I mean calvary. If they truly are about protecting the rights of (so-called) minorities, shouldn't they be there for this guy? Just my opinion.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Packman 1001

    @ Rainkettle – are you kidding me? Sometimes lethal force is absolutely justified and a much better option then wasting millions of taxpayers dollars on a sick beast like this!

    May 31, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Tiger Paw Raw

    If I'm not mistaken, police officers shot him once, and it didn't stop him from continuing to eat that man's face, so they then chose to open fire on him and put him down. If one gun shot isn't going to do it, I doubt a Taser would've done anything either, but that's just me...

    May 31, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  11. alwaysright

    This woman is crazy! Im glad the cop shot this monster! If you meddle in drugs this is your demise

    May 31, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  12. AtheistHuman

    I wonder what "face" tastes like? Chicken?

    May 31, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  13. O my science

    Tell me if i'm wrong but if he was holding on to someone and biting them and they tazzed the guy wouldnt that current pass to the victim further injuring him.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  14. CapnKirksNiples

    Mom makes no sense, cant tase a zombie.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Answerman28

    Obviousily the bible poisoned his brain. Religion is complete delusion and anyone stupid enough to buy into it has competely lost touch with reality.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
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