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. CR

    I do believe this mother that her son was a nice person. What a terrible thing to have to deal with. Something went very wrong. If he was under the influence of bath salts, he may not have taken it himself. I also can't imagine what horror the victimhas gone through. I hope he's unconscious and doesn't know any difference. It would be merciful if he died. The world is so sad now and getting worse.

    May 31, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Critter

    Sorry lady, when your son eats off a mans face in an unprovoked attack, well, he might not have been a 'zombie' but it certainly makes him a POS in my book. Defend your son till the cows come home, it's not gonna changed a damn thing.

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

      According to the cop who responded, they did try to use a taser on this guy, and it didn't affect him. Apparently on "Bath Salts" you don't feel any pain.

      May 31, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Tizzy

    No Jutish no peas

    May 31, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Tizzy

    Homie don't play dat

    May 31, 2012 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
  5. BernieJ

    Ya ya ya, same old story he was a good person. That is the problem in this country today the bad are good and the good are bad.

    May 31, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • phoodphite

      I am tempted to just say "If he chews like a zombie, and moans like a zombie, etc., etc. then he is a zombie." But one of the first things to cross my mind when I heard this was that a. he was definitely on something, and b. we don't know if what he was on was slipped to him without his knowledge. You hear more and more about people being used as guinea pigs for the illegal drug industry. So until more is know, it is possible that until just before he was last intoxicated from something slipped to him, he may have been a decent person.

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

    what a stupid woman... he gave her a nice card on mother's day, and this means he was a good boy and didnt need to be shot while he was chewing a man's face off. um.... yeah.

    May 31, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Baltimore

    Thanks Tallahassee for the double tap. And is it true that the cop said "You got a pretty mouth" before firing?

    May 31, 2012 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
  8. bryce

    Captured by the priest of evil
    Deep inside the hive
    Hellish dungeon filled with undead
    Their rotting claws reaching for my
    Legs I hang above the ghouls
    I know they want me for their food
    Overwhelmed by deadly fear
    Hung above the Zombie lair

    Hanging by a thread above them
    Taken here to die
    Rotting hands reaching for me
    Their undead eyes see me as a meal
    They want to eat alive
    Mindless hunger in their eyes
    Filthy claws grasp at my feet
    Slashing wounds my ankles bleed

    Pit of zombies
    Chasm teeming with undead
    Death is grisly
    Lowered slightly now they reach me
    I scream in frantic pain
    Tearing off my feet with fury
    The pain intense below my knees my
    Legs have been removed
    They suck the blood from the wounds
    Voracious zombies rend my thighs
    They pull me down, my corpse they
    Will divide

    'Pit of Zombies' cannibal Corpse

    May 31, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. RC

    Just because he read and could quote the bible does not make him a good man. I think him chewing on someone's face dispels any "good guy" status he had.

    Sounds like mom and his girlfriend are either delusional themselves, or looking for a payout.

    May 31, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
  10. dave

    adding up the story together; he wanted to go to the annual beach party but his friend said he had to work so he went alone
    eager in the morning. he parked illegally so his car got many people would lose it after trying to work and save and then your party plans go kaput? if he did read the bible i think that maybe he was one of those types who think God as their genie ...i want to get it all, party, the girl, the money... as long as they please God by reading some verses. it does not work like that. a true believe endures all trials for Jesus.

    going to a beach party without your girlfriend sounds suspect. maybe after his car got towed he lost it and got some drugs or maybe more... to cope. then maybe he cursed God and thought demon would be better.

    this is all speculation but it is a evil ending so evil is in there somewhere. We are to live for Jesus and stay pure from the world, even in hard times and in the end we will get our reward- if not here, then in heaven.

    i could not live in peace for one minute knowing i am going to be judged by God, that fear will hinder any joy or happiness. let Jesus save you and transform you and then the peace of God will rest on you. read the Bible for more

    May 31, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Chris

    "justice for Rudy!" I can already hear it. What? Are we going to have protests with naked people with bloody flesh in their mouths?

    May 31, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  12. David

    I don't think his mom understands how zombies work. People aren't born zombies, they become zombies. Many zombies used to be nice, amiable people, but their desire for human flesh consumes them and they turn into monsters.

    May 31, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jim

    Sorry mom, your kid was a zombie...

    May 31, 2012 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Crime Professor

    Doesn't anyone remember the hype that went around about people flipping out on PCP, people were killed in those rages. Bad drugs are generally purposeful -somehow, dealers dont like when their clients die, seriously. Perhaps some odd side effect affects certain type people.

    May 31, 2012 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Brain

    I hope they didn't shoot him in the head, they need to run test on his brain to see what was going on that was wrong. Was he infected with some new disease, was he high-off cocaine, was he really a zombie, or what. And what were both of these dudes doing naked?

    May 31, 2012 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
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