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. Yes!!!!!

    So there is no zombie apocalypse happening....Bummer!!

    May 31, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
  2. abby1

    Another flesh eating case has been reported in Maryland. Also, I read today about one from Sweden. What the heck is going on???!!!

    May 31, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • mooncricket1


      May 31, 2012 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
  3. joe

    When did the bible ACTUALLY have anything to do with being a good person or not? I'd say the opposite, personally in this case 🙂

    May 31, 2012 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Seb

    A month for toxicology reports? On Dexter or CSi it takes 30 minutes...

    May 31, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
  5. slickteigkcmo

    Dear mom of this monster, this was not the sweet little innocent kid you gave birth to . He became a monster, for some reason, drugs? letting evil rule his soul? all of it? face the truth please, he died a monster, for some reasons, wow, how can you be so blind, none so blind as those who will not see........ he was evil!

    May 31, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Vixen

    Anyone else see the upcoming lawsuit brought by momma and girlfriend (who probably gave him the drugs) for wrongful death.

    May 31, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
  7. k

    A crazy weirdo just crazy and weird he wasn't a zombie but he was creepy weirdo eh eh eh weirdo

    May 31, 2012 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
  8. mooncricket1


    May 31, 2012 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
  9. mooncricket1

    OBAMA SON??????????

    May 31, 2012 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
  10. lightbearerusa

    The face of a MONSTER!

    May 31, 2012 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
  11. slickteigkcmo

    Trayvon was a kid, just walking around, not a dirtbag, a kid..... who was tracked down like an animal by G Zimmerman, get a grip, what if you were tracked for the crime of walking around in the neighborhood w/ only candy in your pocket, esp when you were 17???? Hope this happens to you or yours someday if that will make you see how it feels, shame on you!!! This is not the wild west were we can go after kids because we're paranoid and play cop/god, Zimmerman was and is insane with delusions and paranoia....... he and millions of others, esp commentators who feed on fear , in their own heads.Cannibal man, insane w evil too, it's all around, Americans better change how this country is or we're down the drain . WE all have to be positive ( I am a realist... it can be done by choice) and make it a better country not walking around killing people we deem deserving of death, vigilantes you must stop , we need to take the country back from you and the criminials, doing it like this WILL NOT make things better.

    May 31, 2012 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dr.Watch

    Why doesn't anyone respond to my comments?

    May 31, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Dr.Watch

    I am not being racist but there was this South American tribe that ate human flesh. Then 5 people survived a plane crash in the Andes Mountains and they were stuck there for six months. They had nothing to eat, so they had to eat dead passengers. But this is a different story though.

    May 31, 2012 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Disgusted

    Take illegal drugs, eat a man's face because of it, get shot for not stopping.... sorry, tasers are for the unruly. Zombies get shot.

    May 31, 2012 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
  15. aj

    There was an incident a while back in Louisiana, where this woman at this guy's face because he was cheating on her or something.

    May 31, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Report abuse |
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