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. rh

    Sorry honey, even a nice Mother's Day card doesn't make up for eating the face of a live person.

    He belongs in the ground, and you're lucky he didn't get you instead.

    He "loved God" shows you exactly what religion is – the refuge of the insane.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Right on

      That's exactly it!

      May 31, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hadrian Swall

      You're going to indict ALLof religion based on the supposed comments of an unnamed "girlfriend"? Think much, or do you just open your mouth and let the diarrhea fall out??

      May 31, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  2. baldowl

    I know, I know. He was a good guy, really, "turning his life around." Drugs or no drugs, that guy was a monster.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  3. jennygirl

    PEDO BEAR, your zombie comments are great! keep commenting till they close the comment section.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  4. jodyel73

    how do you know what trayvon did all we know is that he was minding his own business and then he was harrassed by a man that had no right to question him he was told to back off now a young man is dead

    May 31, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  5. cnnlicksit

    Seriously, he ate someones face off. If anyone deserved to get shot by the police its this guy!

    May 31, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Maxy

    Yet another example of how drugs destroy peoples lives. They are just not worth the risk.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bubba™

      "example of how drugs destroy peoples lives"

      He's an example of how bath salts destroy people's lives. Bathe responsibly, and don't smoke the soap. Geez people . . .

      May 31, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  7. MyTake

    He is a zombie. This is how it starts ALWAYS. You all won't sound so funny when they come for your loved ones. Jjust prey you find a nice hole to live in once the Zombie Apocalypse starts ... you won't be laughing then.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  8. sj

    I feel bad for the attackers mom and family and i understand her wishing for a different outcome , unfortunately in this case i doubt that was possible.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Granny

    Prayers go out to the homeless guy.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Foreverwar

    They should have tazed him..... then shot him.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Right on

      tazed him in the nuts then shot a few times for pain and then death. In that order please!

      May 31, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Lee Van Cleef

    it took six shots to put him down because you gotta shoot 'em in the head. Anywhere else and they just keep on coming.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  12. PantyRaid

    "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."

    Bath salts are used to get high and are bad, but they have no idea if he was on anything at all...

    May 31, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  13. buddy in pa

    Mom Your response just shows what a BAD Mother you are !!! I hope your son's victim can go after you and your family in a court of law and get every last cent you will ever own for his pain and suffering !!!

    May 31, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Rick Grimes

    The zombie apocalypse is upon us.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  15. cal jams

    Obama said, "If i had a zombie son, He would eat a face just like that".

    May 31, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
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