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. Dan

    A taser would have stopped him! Didn't the cop shoot him once (non-fatal shot) to stop, then had to shoot him a second time to kill him?

    Rule #2: Double Tap

    It's how you make sure all Zombies are dead.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  2. mickey1313

    He ate a man's face, mom and girlfriend be d-a-m-n-e-d, be was a monster.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ktbird

    Of course they would blame someone else for what he did.

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

    Always remember the double tap rule when dealing with zombies.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Stella

    Why is the opinion of the mother reported as though it were news? Her statement is ridiculous and I'm sure she'll try to sue now. CNN always does this, prints denials from the family with the same weight as the facts of the case, in this case a video that pretty much proves there was no way to just tase him. He took the drugs and it's his own fault he's dead, people who do drugs take chances with their own lives and the lives of others.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Roger

    Counter-point: your son ate some dude's face off

    May 31, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Dave

    Since he was such a man of God and carried a bible everywhere he should be left alone..... I guess he forgot it that day!!!!!!!!!!! Love how no one will ever stand up and say yea that boy was mine but he was a worthless piece of $&#& and should have been put down years ago. I guess his multiple runins with the law also made him an outstanding citizen.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  8. edvhou812

    He was no zombie. He was some naked guy that decided to chew someone's face off. Much better.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  9. SlaveWorld

    Everyone always say this about their loved-ones in zombie movies too and that is why the it spreads so easily.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  10. romanash

    "I saw what happened on TV and I started crying.”

    She was crying because of what was done to her son, shot instead of tased. Could she cry for the son of some other woman, whose face is now destroyed? I do not read in this interview with Rudy Eugene's mother, where she has any concern over what her son did to another human being.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  11. jennygirl

    sorry mom, but yes he DID have to die.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jason K

    1. The only individual in this story listed as homeless was the victim, not the attacker.
    2. There is not proof this man was on any drug, toxicology is reported to be out for another month
    3. Police use necessary force for a situation, if they felt the victim was still alive and at risk they would rather shoot to kill then miss with the taser which is one shot and takes longer to reload.

    Stop skewing the facts.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  13. heide

    I'm so sorry Eugene's life had to end like this, due to a bad decision that took control of him. He should have lived to make the world a better place with his good character. And I'm sorry for Poppo's incredible misfortune, his pain and suffering in the future. I feel for all those who loved these two men.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Yum

    I wonder if the Officer had to whip out the Hornady Zombie Max rounds after the first three shots did nothing.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  15. king samir shabazz

    Maybe "African Americans" 😉 are getting bored just robbing, beating and killing us and now they have decided to start eating us?

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