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. Johnson

    I wonder if he was smoking pot laced with bath salts? I had a friend who had a psychosis episode ( and yes he is white) when someone laced his pot with another chemical.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
  2. hypatia

    homicidal freak is the new zombie

    May 31, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Matthew

    Remember the good old days when 'zombie' meant 'mindless undead slave under mystical influence?' Now it means 'ravenous, unreasonable cannibalistic carnivore.' Ah, the world of Entomology.

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

    A true miami zombie. There is a sizable Haitian community here. Maybe the zombie thing is real.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Zombie land

    Nom Nom Nom.... I love eating ZOMBIES

    May 31, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
  6. roman1descent

    what kind of drugs is this socalled mother on? If she is from another country, deport her we dont need werewolves since she does not like the term zombie, which is too accurate for her brain to comprehend, Has she not seen what zombies do in the movies? What does she think her son was doing exercising his civil rights????

    May 31, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  7. raceisamyth

    This is what happens when you shoot up drone, mdpv, meph or any of the powder rc drugs. Its the only drug that has a DRAMATICALLY different effect depending on the method of use.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  8. adam

    so the first few bullets weren't enough to stop him, but a taser would have? sorry you must be in the denial stage of grieving

    May 31, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  9. SparkBunny- the colony, tx

    Yeah, i've got no quarrel with the police here. If it were MY son, i'd want them to put him down. Anyone who takes a bullet, then growls at the person who shot him and keeps coming, needs to be put down. This guy (zombie or not) was a continuing threat to both the officer, the victim, and the community. I wouldn't wanna tackle that with a taser. I wouldn't want to get that close. Who knows what diseases both Eugene OR the homeless guy had? Furthermore, that is not a post-humous mug shot. The guy had a record. You can't pretty that up.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Zombie land


    May 31, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  11. flat

    sure he was. he ate a guys face off and growled at the police AFTER BEING SHOT THREE TIMES. if that doesnt qualify as a zombie i dunno what does

    May 31, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Wolfgang

    The sub/human beast was trying to get at the brain...

    May 31, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  13. kimberly liscano

    REALLY...they should have Tazed him.... They should have blew his head off. A human being a man is fighting for his life and all you can think about is YOUR son lady... WoW.. no wonder your son was a mess... You have no compassion and he had no compassion... reverse the situation ... if YOUR son was chewing on your face ,would you still want the officer to taze him or shoot...?????

    May 31, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Loyal Northern Democrat

    If the teeth don't fit, don't convict.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Clem Vinson

    why's everyone hating on the zombies? Zombies eat people, preferrably brains, but ya know, in a pinch, a homeless guys face will suffice. You don't blame rattlesnakes for biting, or vampyres for that matter (oh hell no, those teeny boppers just love them gothic moody vampyres), so why all the hate on zombies? Can't we all just get along and eat some homeless people?

    May 31, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
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