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. jon

    Mom does poor job with son...son becomes POS...POS is killed by cops...mom blames cops...as you do

    May 31, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Lisa

    Mama, you son was not a zombie, but he was eating a man while he was alive. From what I read, the homeless man's eyeballs were gone. Drugs are so dangerous. If my son was doing the same thing, committing that kind or torture, I would tell the police to shoot him. Not tazer. Shoot him and shoot to kill. I'm sorry about your son. He got lost somewhere.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  3. veggiedude

    Funny how eating someones face is such a horrible thing. What do you think meat is? Every animal has a face too.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marco

      So, where do you keep the bodies hidden, your fridge or your backyard?

      May 31, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hamlet

      I personally am a vegitarian because I just hate plants.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anell Fischer

      Are you suggesting people are as delicious as other animals are?

      May 31, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  4. CBS

    Someone should start a non-profit Guns for the homeless. these people have nothing and need to protect themseves . People should donnate guns to the homeless so if they are attackd they can defend themselves. This has got to stop . A homeless person cannot just call the police they need guns now . Help them and donate a gun for the cause . He did not deserve to have his face eaten . Help the homeless now because who knows you could end up homeless also. You just never know.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      "Guns for the homeless." Oh brilliant idea! What could go wrong?

      May 31, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  5. CynicLgrrl

    Pretty sure that had they mearly tazed this dude that he would have had an extremely diffucult time living with what he had done. I know that i'd wish I were dead...cuz, jeezuz..there's not enough counseling in the WORLD to get somebody past something like that.

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

      The first shot or two didn't phase him. The tazer probably would have made him even angrier.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Blurb

    One less moonmonkey

    May 31, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  7. billybob

    Isn't that what people think in zombie movies? "Oh my sweet child come to momma. Ahh nooo don't aaaaaaahhhhhhh my face!! You gave me a nice card!! whyy!!!!"

    May 31, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Hamlet

    But he gave a nice mother's day card and said grace before consuming. He was a good boy.

    really?

    May 31, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • helicohunter

      Yeah, I don't know why they even bother interviewing mothers. Every mother's son is an angel. Although I have to say that THIS mother seems even more delusional than most. I just hope that if my son does something horrible, I will have the courage to say he was wrong.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
  9. disinterested

    His record included being arrested for threatening to kill his mother... Zombie no, but nice guy...meh

    May 31, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ew

    Black people are becoming ridiculous. A Tazer would not have done anything, and any normal person would have blown that dude away after seeing him eating someone.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
  11. lea

    Ok, RUTH, the mother that doesn't want to be named...wasn't he gonna put a gun to your head and kill you in 2004? Didn't he trash your house? Didn't you call the police on your son back then and they came and tased him. Remember???? Too bad he didn't eat YOUR face off back then. This poor homeless guy might have a chance right now if you had prosecuted him back then.. This is your fault, RUTH, the mom that doesn't want to be named. Good sons don't eat off people's faces and they don't threaten to put a gun to the head of their own mother in 2004. The officer did humanity, and you, a big favor by killing this monster you claim is a good son. Don't you even dare try to sue. You are just as responsible because you failed to prosecute for assault and battery in 2004.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
  12. dowdotica

    no tazers allowed. got zombies? make sure you double tap!!!

    May 31, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  13. IronRider

    lets see, we have a now dead naked man who was eating the flesh off someones face in the middle of public. ZoMbIe AtTaCk!!!!

    May 31, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  14. JimAR

    No. Not a zombie; not a monster. No. He was a good Hallmark Card buyer, a good Christian Bible thumper who chewed off a man's face. I blame this on Obama. Romney would have tased the poor, good son instead.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
  15. tdeveson

    If we can let go for a moment of the preconceived ideas that we have about this woman (especially since none of us have the foggiest idea of who she is or what kind of life she has led), we might spare her a little compassion.

    I have no idea how I would react if someone I love very much suddenly did something so insanely horrible that the international press is following it. I do know that I'd be in unspeakable pain if the police came to my door to tell me that my son was dead, regardless of what he was doing when he died.

    This whole thing is way beyond almost anyone's comfort level. It's no surprise that we're jumping to conclusions and trying to make the pieces fit.

    While we do that, let's try to spare the mother. Right now, she's a victim of this insanity too and I don't have any reason to believe that she brought this down on herself.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
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