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. Loyal Northern Democrat

    If Louis Farrakon had a son he would have been shot eating a black man.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  2. ConvenienceForeverFreshnessNever

    Unless Armando Aguilar has actually tried "bath salts" to know the effects first-hand he should not jump to such conclusions. He is just creating public hype and trying to establish an irrational nexus to make bath salts (already subject to the Federal Analog Act) a Schedule I/II substance. Bath salts do not induce hysteria, hallucinations or zombie-like effects...it's an analog of MDMA or ecstasy. Having actually smoked a full packet in a single night with no more serious results than profuse sweating and sleeplessness, it's simply not going to create effects that would incite someone to cannibalism. The more pointed nexus is perhaps that he was a devout bible-reader as religion – the opiate of masses – has been know to drive even the most devout to commit acts of murder.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  3. rkt210

    This may have been out of character for him, but there's no question that he should have been shot dead. He was a threat to others, especially the guy whose face he was eating.

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

    They need to dig him up and shoot him again! Animal!!

    May 31, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  5. David

    “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.

    Enough said

    May 31, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Teri

      Exactly.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • forihaveseen

      this has absolutely nothing to do with him reading the Bible, even the devil knows the bible...the world will know the truth.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Loyal Northern Democrat

    Shoot the mom and those that she thinks are the father.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Sam

    I am usually very skeptical when police use deadly force but this time...HE WAS EATING SOMEONE'S FACE! I think that is the definition of when it is appropriate to use deadly force.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wolfgang

      Send all violent blacks back to the jungle where nature intended them to be not among civilized folk...

      May 31, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
  8. rkt210

    "My son was an angel, except when he was on drugs and eating someone's face."

    May 31, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Bruce

    Of course, the mom blames the cop. Let's not go through this, "If I had a son, he'd look like Rudy Eugene" stuff again.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Nick

    Maybe she can get Al Sharpton to march on Miami PD

    May 31, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Knight of the Living Dead

    Lets FACE it, zombie drugs are bad!!! This is how the whole thing starts...The Walking Dead, season NOW!!

    May 31, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  12. RodSteel

    He was a NICE GUY... then he became a Zombie... then he eats people... 99.9% of zombies were nice people BEFORE they became one!

    May 31, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  13. LA2019

    Who's face would Jesus eat?

    May 31, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Wolfgang

    The Zombie sub/human was black its victim was White, he was eating the mans face off..does that make it a hate crime
    what if it had been a white man eating a black mans face off...Blacks are feral sub/human animals...

    May 31, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • cybercmdr

      Stereotype much? This guy was nuts, but it had nothing to do with his skin color.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  15. RNC

    Who can blame the guy. Face is delicious.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
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