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. MyTake

    LOL ... yeah good one. I love trolls ... Tra-thug was oh so innocent. The laughs keep on coming. Yeah, I know. Some of these people would change their minds if Trayvon did the killing ... then it was self-defense there too. Keep up the good work. I love making these racist out to be the hypocrites they are.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  2. rh

    Abortion is murder, but if you ban abortion, you have to ban war and police.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • c


      May 31, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • No NO

      If that crazy monster of a mother had had an abortion this would have never happened! We abort every other species and yet our own commits the most vile crimes. We are no better than bugs and neither are you! The victim sure as hell would have wanted to sucker aborted!

      May 31, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • DWH

      You're on bath slats aren't you?

      May 31, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • usr74

      On the plus side, you also prevent unaborted losers from sharing our air, or eating other people's faces. His mom's mom should have aborted her.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  3. king samir shabazz

    I read another article that they searched his car and found no drugs or bath salts just a bag of skittles.

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

    "My son was no zombie". Which I'm sure was true, until he became a flesh eating zombie and ate a man's face. Heck even in the movies they wait until you start showing signs before they give you the old double tap to the head.

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

    If you saw the graphic shots of the guy who lost his face, you'd think much differently. It's ghastly. That guy needed to be sent back to the manufacturer NOW. It was gruesome, no eyelids, no nose. Straight out of some horror movie. "A nice kid."

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

      How in the hell did you see these ghastly and graphic photos?

      May 31, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bubba™

      I'd rather be dead than see photos like that and be told "You did that and now you live in prison forever."

      May 31, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • usr74

      The mom said they shouldn't have shot him, just taser. Well, he should have been eating skittles, not someone's face!! Also she contradicts herself saying how he wasn't a zombie but also how that was not her son. Umm yeah that wasn't her son, because that was a freaking zombie!!

      May 31, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Joke Right?

    You taze a dude posing resistance. You shoot dead the dude eating another man's face! That mom needs to get over herself and side with the actual victim! That's the dude whose face is gone for no reason. If that victim ever really makes it I would hope he sues the living hell out of that mom. If she is so irrational without being under the influence of bath salts, she gave birth to this phycho and did not do what was right by society to keep that monster locked up in a cage! She is at fault! I understand distraught but to come out and say things like that is flat out wrong. Hitler was somebody's son too and he ate nobody's face! How about apologizing to the victim and society at large. Enough blaming the cops and everything else. Own up to your creature from hell. If God doesn't send this one straight to the deepest level of hell than we are all in for surprise at the gates of heaven. And the media, for even reporting this non sense and give her that importance. Shame on you! Just because she has the right to say it doesn't mean she should or that CNN and other outlets should report it.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hadrian Swall

      Thank you for proving Goodwin's Law (Google it).

      May 31, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      You're comment on this story was gold, my friend.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bubba™

      Hadrian, no, he's not comparing someone to the Nazis, just using Adolf as an example. He'd have to say "Nazis ate people's faces too" to make us invoke Godwin's Law.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Zman

    Parents always say their kids are "nice kids" even the worthless ones. This is a good example of that. "Nice kids" don't eat other peoples' faces... h3ll, they don't even eat other peoples' food! He got what he deserved and I don't know about anyone else, but I do hope this starts the highly anticipated zombie apocalypse.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. MyTake

    rainkettle: You would change your mind in an instant if he was threatening you or a loved one. Killing is justified. I am afraid of people who don't OPENLY say so.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  9. maestra730

    And his mother's denial and refusal to face the truth about her son is probably why he ended up the way he did. So sad.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Granny

    What would his future cell mate have said if Rudy had survived? "Shoot me!"

    May 31, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Granny

      The city needs to send those officers and their families to Disney World as a thank you. I imagine they need some R&R after dealing with such a fine son who sent a card to his mother.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Carlos

    Haha somehow the church followers are always the craziest people.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  12. smokeee

    it could've been Satan took him over. seems to only happen to religious people too, lucky i'm not....

    May 31, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Sparkle

    I didn't know drugs were a good excuse for massively defiguring someone..

    May 31, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Michellei

    ok, so you got a nice card on Mother's Day...and he carried a bible around which in itself is freaky and scary....SERIOUSLY??? He CHEWED a man's face OFF...yeah he should've been tased...then shot like the zombie he became

    May 31, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  15. buddy in Pa

    No Mom It's your Fault too... for allowing your son to become the moster he was !!!

    May 31, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
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