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. Joe

    Zombie Apocalypse is what everyone is saying, WHICH IS FALSE. Zombies are dead, not alive. This is Cannibalism, and is controlled by Demonic Spirits....DRUGS are controlled by Demonic Spirits. People are so stupid these days...

    May 31, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Zman

      You must be on bath salts. Zombies are the living dead.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brad

      They are the living dead fool!

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

      "DRUGS are controlled by Demonic Spirits" JOE is controlled by Demonic Spirits! Probably Jack Daniel's or Wild Turkey.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • RobertM

      You are stating this as if there is some sort of actual fact about Zombies. DRUGS are controlled by demonic spirits? Your right! People are stupid these days.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      "People are stupid these days": Coming from the man sprouting "demonic spirits"?

      May 31, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kaeden

      No one says that Zombies have to be dead. Zombies are simply mindless and cannibalistic creatures. This guy was obviously both, and thus he is classified as a Zombie.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Really

    Wonderful world we live in. I guess its not so bad to eat someones face off if you carry a bible.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  3. cal jams

    dude you are an idiot. Provoked. you see someone walking through the neighborhood in the evening wearing a hoodie. Your hoods been robbed lately. You check his a., out. He pops all gangster with a sucker punch. He wants to walk like a man. He can damn sure go down like one. Plus never take your fist to a gunfight.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  4. watash60

    whatever a black mom says that's the way it is for liberal media

    May 31, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • kristina

      that's the most ignorant statement i've heard all day. congrats! tell me, as moronic as you are, how do you manage sophisticated concepts like buttons and shoe tying? i'm curious.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • lisa

      racist much?

      May 31, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Wired

    It's not self defense if the provoker does the killing.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Brad

    “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.

    Note to self... stay away from people who read the bible a lot... :-\

    May 31, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Zman

    I hate how the reply doesn't work on this site. Can't they fix that already!!?

    May 31, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jpark

    He deserved every gun shot he received! He is an animal and despite how "nice" of a man he was, he is a barbaric idiot who was obviously mixed in with the wrong things!

    May 31, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Whatever

    We had a "bath salts" incident up at a university here in michigan as well. ODs, fighting the cops, etc. Sounds like one drug you could probably skip. 😛

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

      seriously bad drug. Saw this one guy on them, he tried to start a fight with me, but it was so obvious he was out of it i didnt escalate the situation just got a way. Then, the guy just RAN, full on SPRINTED, away. He wasn't there at all, mumbling to himself. This is a BAD BAD drug. Its a risk to other people, it triggers violence.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jake

    This is all just a big misunderstanding. He was a nice kid. He was hungry thats all. Should have let him finish his meal. then he would have complied with police and everything back to normal...... No i'm sorry but nice people dont eat the face of another human being.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  11. RobertM

    Maybe he wasn't a zombie but he was certainly a mindless, incoherent, growling being that was eating someones face.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  12. but wait...

    If Eugene is such an innocent, good man, why is the picture of him appear to be a mug shot? Is there a criminal backround not being mentioned?

    May 31, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  13. humberto

    Who tied up Martians cell phone and jerked him around so his parents couldn't reach him ?

    May 31, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  14. LouieD

    So his mom says he's not a zombie, but his girlfriend says, "That wasn’t him, that was his body but it wasn’t his spirit. Somebody did this to him.”

    First sentence describes a zombie, contrary to the mother's claim. Second sentence suggests he was infected by another zombie. Is there any effort to track this earlier zombie down?

    May 31, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • lisa

      What are you waiting for?!? Get on the case, Cptn LD!

      May 31, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  15. NONE

    react how you want when i say this but i think that the drugs are a cover up. this is MY opinion.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
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