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. mike collins

    Cops should have tazed him? He took one bullet and kept eating you stupid biotch!

    May 31, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • sandy

      normally, i feel sorry for mothers who lose their sons-but not this one.

      she should be embarrassed that she called her son a "nice kid".

      i guess the son wasn't the only one out of touch with reality.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Ross

    No offense to the mother but the attacker was killing the homeless man and did not respond positively when ordered by the police officer to cease and desist. The officer did the correct thing. He saved a mans life. How much of a life he will have we do not know. Although it probably will not be much considering the wounds he suffered.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Claire

    What do you expect from a mother who obviously loved her kid unconditionally? Unfortunately sometimes a mother's love blinds.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
  4. sportreform

    face facts, mom.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
  5. nathan

    at least if he were a zombie, he would have had an excuse. at least she's admitting to raising a crappy son.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jonathen

    No mother of Eugene, by definition your son was a zombie and needed to be taken down. If you don't like it, or if you support your son in anyway in this, then you need to exit this world stage right as well.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Anonymous

    Your use of the words black mother are lovely. I hope your mother goes around talking about you like an idiot as we don't want to be unrealistic. What has this sad existence come to? We now are generalizing black people as another species, fantastic, I can't believe the human race.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
  8. motherof3

    The whole thing is just disturbing no matter what side you are on.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Liberals are a JOKE

    Mr. Eugene seems like a typical self serving, self centered liberal.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jerry

    The Bible told him to do it, right? thats why he had one?

    May 31, 2012 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Evonne Todd

    no offense, but the mother sounds mentally challenged and from the outcome her son was as well.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Odinson

    So...that's what going to cause the zombie apocalypse? Bath Salts? Who knew? Good thing I'm prepared...

    Taze him? Lady, any SANE rational person seeing a person eating someone's FACE, said eater-of-faces growl at them, and continue, they would shoot him. You would have done the same thing. Shut up.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tara

      You, my good sir, have it exactly right! I'm usually against most violent reactions, but eating faces, in my opinion, justifies any use of deadly force no questions asked.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
  13. MobiusEight

    Uhh, he was eating another human... grounds for execution right there. What is there to discuss, exactly?

    May 31, 2012 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
  14. rmtaks

    "That wasn’t him, that was his body but it wasn’t his spirit."

    That's because he became a zombie, duh.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  15. isaywhat

    man, this article is rife with classic quotes. it does make sense he was a bible thumper....those fools are crazy.

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

      The only fool in the circus is you.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
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