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. Nuha

    Oh my god, you people are rasists and crazy to say these disgusting things, what race and skin color have to do with what happened, white people are no better than black people of anybody else. you are just ignorant full of your selves. if anybody need to exit this world it would be people like you.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • JLS

      Typical "white folks" The real reason America is in decline...

      May 31, 2012 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
  2. NudeTruth

    What's with Florida and people's faces?

    First a monkey maul's a lady and rips off her face, now this guy chews off some dudes face.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jeff Lebowski

    That's how they solve food shortages in Africa.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • JLS

      Yeah, why don't you head on over? You'd probably look a lot more appealing glazed, with an apple crammed in your yap.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
  4. surfdog

    demon possession, believe it

    May 31, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tara

      A demon named PCP maybe...

      May 31, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Moses

    Feel sorry for the mom... Of I found out my son did something like this I'd be in denial too.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
  6. CountDollarz

    nothing like the taste of a homeless man's face in the morning...

    May 31, 2012 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. todd

    he was followed, not provoked.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
  8. patrick

    Tased??..hell, my first shot would have been directly to his head, taser wouldnt have done anything.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Randy from Tulsa

    god probably told him to do it.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
  10. CG

    All of you represent the rapid decline of this country. From the ones claiming that all "religious people are "crazy" to the others calling this man a zombie. I will pray for you all, trust me you need it. This man was either on some type of drug that brought on a full blown psychotic episode or some type of psychosis occured naturally. I know for pea brained sheep such as most americans this seems impossible but it happens every day. I had a psyhcotic break years back and thank God with medication I have been able to manage it and lead a normal life. The comments above make me sick and you really should be ashamed of yourselves but I know you are far to shallow and perfect for that. Just because you do not understand something this does not make it any less real it just means you are ignorant..........God Bless the man that this happened to.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • cubanrose

      You sound really stupid...really really stupid. I'm sorry out of all of the blog comments I've read today yours was the most stupid thing I've read. Seriously

      May 31, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Djan

      The rapid decline of this country is called Obama . Just saying

      May 31, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Randy from Tulsa

    I bet that freaks mom is a zombie too.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Randy Garner

      That MMA guy that ripped his trainers face off and heart out told the police he did it because his trainer wa "The Devil". I'm starting to think there is a theme starting to emerge, albeit a subtle one. If you are a religious person, stay away from hallucinogenics.

      May 31, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Willy Brown

    No he was a good man. It was Bush's fault.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Tizzy

    Took the bro out jit's like Trayvon

    May 31, 2012 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
  14. john

    In 2004, North Miami Beach Police had to use a Taser to subdue him during a domestic dispute.

    In that dispute, police said Eugene yelled at his mother, saying “You see what I can do?” and “How do you feel now?” during the attack that saw him break a table and shove her out of the kitchen according to North Miami Beach Police.

    When officers confronted Eugene inside the home he asked “What-you-gonna-do?” Eugene refused to leave and told one officer, “I’ll kick your ass,” according to the police report.

    He wasn't that good of a person..

    May 31, 2012 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Tizzy


    May 31, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • HeIsGod

      Watju say about mi-momma??


      May 31, 2012 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse |
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