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. cleT

    Your face

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

    Is it better to die an honest man, or forever walk the world as a monster?

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

      I'm gonna say ... monster for the win.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Racist Americans Forget J.Dahmer

    Racist White Americans...Do we forget that mister dahmer existed. I appreciate the fact of Americans not letting this freak incident turn into a battle of race. Eugene and dahmer demented creatures and shouldn't be catagorized as humans.Black or White

    May 31, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • AshleyM512

      How in the world did race manage to get involved here?! WHO CARES what color he was! He freaking ate a guy's face!

      May 31, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      You are a moron.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bubba™

      Nobody's playing the race card but you so far, and Dahmer was judged sane and sent to prison because he knew right from wrong. This zombie guy was so furked up and in the zone that he didn't know what he was doing; I believe his mom about that part anyway.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • medic2

      This was just a guy high on whatever he was taking. Let's attack the drugs and their dealers, not this poor slob who probably had no clue what he was doing. He paid the price for taking the drug, as did the guy who he attacked.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ok Nice Comparison

      At least Dahmer's victims were dead when he started eating them.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  4. maltytasker

    Yeah right, mom. He just thought he was.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  5. ebonysteel

    How do you claim self defense when he started the fight? He got out of his car and provoked a fight-got his ass whooped and then decides to pull out his gun and shoot him simply because he couldn't beat him up.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • mickey1313

      You have a legal right to say what ever you want, not a legal right to attack someone, Martin was a thug, he got what was coming to him, just like face eating man got what was coming to him

      May 31, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Whoshotjr8

    I bet someone forced him to take the bath salts or whatever drug he was on to since Eugene was a bible thumper and all. Your son, boyfriend, brother, friend, etc. ate 75% of an innocents mans face off. Accept it and realize Rudy Eugene was a monster, but not a zombie because zombies eat brains not faces. I hate when people do bad things and other people speak out and say what a good person they were. Why can't people just take reponsibility for their actions? Oh no my son would never do that....... Well guess what he did!

    May 31, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • J.B.

      Well said....Responsibility left a LONG time ago with Common Sense and Common Courtesy.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • medic2

      this guy did take responsibility for what he did. He died.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  7. J.B.

    "says her son was "a nice kid" who could have been subdued with a Taser rather than gunfire."

    Really? Are you on drugs too, lady? If it took SIX GUNSHOTS to get him to stop a taser would have probably been ticklish for him. Sounds like the family has no common sense.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • brass monkey

      Should have been one. Straight to the head.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Whoshotjr8

      LMFAO right the cop should of just tried pulling Rudy off the guy. Why even use any weapons at all?

      May 31, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • blah9999

      He was eating face. No one in that family has common sense.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  8. oldguy

    I know every mother is going to love their child no matter what, but this is not a good person by most standards

    May 31, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Michael Brown

    I just saw the pictures of the man who was mauled. Anyone who defends this guy deserves to die too. Just kill his mom and girlfriend as well. Appalling images. I haven't seen anything like other than downrange, but to imagine someone's MOUTH did this to someone....horrifying

    May 31, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  10. brass monkey

    The fact that people walked and rode by and did absolutely nothing shows just how far we've spiraled as a species. Sorry mama, your boy had to go.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Dee Snoutze

    If Obama had a son he would look like Rudy Eugene... Oh, wait, did he just say what I think he said? No he didn't. That's racist.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  12. yiffy fox boi

    That man was no saint. He was a zombie that needed to be killed.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bubba™

      "He was a zombie that needed to be killed." Next, get the furries.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Captain Caveman

    He was shot and he is now dead. Couldn't have ended any better.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dr Manhattan

      I disagree,

      i think if this guy was somehow stopped and taken to a recovery facility or
      jail it would have had a happier ending, in my opinion.

      Of course, what he did was atrocious, maybe under the effect of some drug
      but anyway deserved to be punished, but i dont think death was the best
      option, thats my two cents.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Steve P

    No common thread, but nice try. I do agree, the dirtbag in this instance, ie, the face eater, did die. Otherwise, a bit misguided is your post.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  15. 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 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
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