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.

Post by:
Filed under: Crime • Drugs • Florida
soundoff (1,699 Responses)
  1. Samantha

    My heart breaks for any mother of a child who commits a crime, but in this case, I do not think a tazer would have stopped him. Should the police have tried... perhaps. But this is a viciously disgusting crime. I still dont think my brain has been able to process that a person could do something like this. Its quite terrifying that there is a substance out there that can cause this kind of behavior.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  2. frank staloner

    ewwww... thats gross. he's just gonna be hungry again in an hour.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
  3. plenty

    Hope the cop shot him in the head, and they need to watch the other guy, in case he turns.

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

      Double tap.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • JR

      comment of the day!

      May 31, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Dennis

    In the Zombie virus world, Jesus is Patient Zero.

    Eat his flesh, drink his blood, rise from the dead....

    May 31, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Dakota2000

    This guy had turned into a wild animal. It is possible that he would have recovered after whatever he took got out of his system. The police need to invest more in non-lethal restraints. Having said that, if I were the policeman and only had a gun, I would have been forced to act in this same way as this officer. I am sorry, but in that state, a taser is just not going to do anything...

    May 31, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carawaigh

      Initial reports said they did taze him, with little effect. However now that's not mentioned. Eventually, the media circus will get their story together, and sometime even further down the line, the actual truth will come out.
      Yes CNN, I'm looking straight at you and your continued "white hispanic" nonsense.

      May 31, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daniel Fernandez

      nonlethal restraints? It is known that users of this drug have a high tolerance for tasers and he stood firm after taking several bullets...I don't think nonlethal action is an option in cases like this. Sorry

      May 31, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • seriously67

      Unfortunately if he does have bath salts in his system from snorting it, he most likely would have never been the same. Bath salts, even a one time use can have irreversible consequences! I have seen the effects of bath salts while working in a psych ward. It is very sad and tragic!

      May 31, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Sara

    No, I doubt your son would strip and eat someone's face off when sober and clear-minded. But he continued to eat the man's face even after he was shot the first time! There is no taser in the world that could have stopped him while the victim was still breathing. It's a sad and horrific situation, but the cops did exactly what they were supposed to do.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Not The Mama

    Mama, he was NOT a nice boy. Nice boys don't go around attempting to digest other people's faces. Yes, he should have been shot. Tazing will frequently not do a thing to someone as whacked out as that evil P.O.S. obviously was.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  8. MaggieMay333

    We can only hope ,and Pray this horrible drug dose not get in the hands of terrorist who could pollute are waterways.
    Drugs are the devil and the evil and pain they cause is so very sad.This scars the C. out me.first time response

    May 31, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  9. scarlet

    Yeah, exactly. The police should have tased him like they did in 2004 when he beat up his mother and threatened to kill her. This woman is delusional.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mike

    Have you guys seen 'Refer Madness' ??

    May 31, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Phos Phorus

    Everywhere he went he had his Bible...perhaps that's why he ate the man's face. He was no longer content with drinking the blood of his god or eating of his flesh symbolically. He wanted to savor the real thing and become even closer to his lord.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Weak bro

    Hopefully Zombie Trayvon won't attack anymore white people

    May 31, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carawaigh

      Weak is right. What exactly is your little nugget 'o' wisdom supposed to mean?

      May 31, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  13. ZombieKillerElite

    Mama...Rudy was a good boy? Did you raise any, um, bad ones?

    May 31, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Sailor101

    Maybe there are subliminal messages embeded in episodes of "The Walking Dead" and he just watched one to many times!

    May 31, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jules

    Ah bath salts, seems like such a fun high. I can really see why people want to do that one...

    May 31, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carawaigh

      No kidding. Weak high that you could get better from many other drugs, with nasty and unpleasant side- and after-effects. I have no idea why people would want to do PCP either, but people do.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77