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. agentxyz

    he was great except for eating someone's face off.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  2. kayaker247

    the mother is in denial. he was a lunatic on drugs, and had dozens of run-ins with the cops. not a "good kid". he got what he had coming. too bad for the old guy that was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  3. willy

    The officer had a right to fire his weapon to defend himself or another human being. We haven't been told if the officer was carrying a taser or not. Some agencies are not issuing tasers because of law suites where a few people that were tased died. Ironic in a way. That being said, this is horrible for all involved. The loss of a son or daughter must be a grief without adequate description.

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

    Finally, liberals and conservatives can agree on something. IT IS NOT OK TO CHEW SOMEONE'S FACE OFF.

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

    I love that the mother and the girlfriend won't give thier names.. They are defending him but deep down know how bad what he did was. He got what he deserved it was that or a padded room for the rest of his life. who would want that in their neighborhood.. the guy had a mugshot he was not so innocent – bible boy couldn't handle the drugs

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

      They're hiding their names to prevent the a**holes of the world from harassing or harming them in their daily lives, and I don't blame them. They did nothing wrong and I think it's pretty clear this guy was not in his right mind and probably chemically altered. I sincerely doubt he was acting like his regular old self.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  6. buddy in Pa

    Sorry about your kid Mom. Maybe you can have him Stuffed, Perfumed, and Mounted on your living room wall so you can still Bow Down and "WORSHIP him daily !

    May 31, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  7. SJG

    Have none of you seen "Naked Space"? Leslie Nielson movie – there is a great scene where the creature sings "I want to eat your face" – you can find the clip on youtube...

    May 31, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Al

    A mom should protect her son, but the results from the autopsy will tell the world what her son was on. I'm sure that the blood work will not come back with nothing but blood.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  9. urmomlol

    Well, have they at least tested him for the T-Virus?

    May 31, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Allie


    May 31, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  11. urmomlol

    It's fun and games until someone loses a face.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Conundrum

    Sorry lady, you and your son are ni66ers. That automatically makes you zombies.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Yuki

    I recognize that this man is not a zombie, but think about this:

    If we, being people who are incredibly stupid enough to mix together stuff to get high and ruin our bodies, can create a drug that makes people want to eat another person's face, think about what the government can do. They've probably already made the virus to make weaponized zombies, now we're just waiting on the idiot to release it on the black market or into the air or something.While you all might be skeptical that the zombie apocalypse is not starting, I'd seriously start preparing.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  14. kampercam

    nom nom nom

    May 31, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  15. sb

    yes, your son was a very nice kid. so nice that he stripped a man and began eating his they make an "im sorry for eating someones face" mothers day card?

    May 31, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
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