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. Jehsea

    There are no winners here.

    May 31, 2012 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Derek

    The mother should be locked up for saying her kid was a good kid.

    HELLO, HE DID DRUGS AND EAT SOMEONES FACE. You call that good parenting? You call that a good kid to be a role model to the rest of the family?

    They should of tossed his dead body off the bridge also and email the mother the video with LOL at the end.

    May 31, 2012 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ThisGuy

    You can practically predict these in every high-profile violence case. Of course the mother is going to say that. The officer did the right thing, he was in the act of killing someone. "My son is a good person" is what they all say. Why are we giving her media attention?

    May 31, 2012 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ThisGuy

    Oh, and why the hell are we talking about Trayvon?

    May 31, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • mdamone

      "Trayvoooooooon, was hunted. Like a rabid zombie."

      May 31, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • qwert

      Because any story featuring a black man inevitably has to end up on Obama or Trayvon.

      May 31, 2012 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Myshel


      May 31, 2012 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
  5. nolongerarepublican

    If this guy was a "nice boy", God help us if we ever have a bad boy running wild.

    May 31, 2012 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jen

    Wow what a delusional woman in denial. Your son ate a mans face off lady. Face reality. Your baby is not a good boy.

    May 31, 2012 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Glynne1964

      That's what I was thinking!!! "..Poppo lost 75% of his face in the attack. He was in critical condition "

      I don't give a rat's you-knowif he read the Bible every day or even several times a day! Just cause you read it, it doesn't make you a religious or good person, it's what you do when you lay it down! Hey, I gould read books on rocket science all day long for weeks on end, but that would NOT make me a rocket scientist would it???

      The mother & girlfriend need a serious reality check! The girlfriend herself said it looked nothing like the man she lived with! Well, girlie...that is what drugs do to our loved ones! It turns them ugly, it turns them into monsters, it turns them into creatures we do not recognize! Look at the before & after pictures of meth for example...

      He ate the man's face! It's all on video. There is no doubt. I hope he gets charged to the fullest extent of the law, but I'm sure they'll plead because of the drugs. I don't get that! Doing drugs & being out of control is illegal, but if you committ a horrible unspeakable's kind of a gimmee. Not in my eyes!!!

      May 31, 2012 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sas

      Are you telling her how her son was? I think she knows her son better then you

      May 31, 2012 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. sassyinbiloxi

    You lose the courtesy of being tased when YOU ARE EATING SOMEONE'S FACE OFF!

    May 31, 2012 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sas

      Its simple, they didn't have to shoot and kill him to prevent what he was doing but they did cause they were disgusted just like you. He was under the influence of drugs, no you don't deserve to be shot on the spot for doing something like this because he was not a threat to the cop at the time. Stop letting emotion cloud your judgement!

      May 31, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
  8. 2/8

    Tragic. I do agree that the mother probably did her best to raise him, but if someone's under the influence or has a mental disorder, it isn't the parents fault. His mom couldn't have prevented this, I mean who could have seen THIS coming? It's just not something that goes through a parent's head. The homeless man certainly had things rough enough, and now he's got it 20 times worse. The police officer either didn't have a taser or acted out of instinct and training. He did what we pay him to do, protect people. More than a few people have had their lives turned upside down because of this.

    May 31, 2012 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. sula

    What is truly sick is how the press and people are "into" this stoy. Why did it even need to be told? The world is a frickin mess, with over populations, poverty, ongoing wars with thousands dying daily to name just a few.... and we read about this???? Unbelievable.

    May 31, 2012 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • bscasc

      the fact that someone ate a mans face off sums up the state of the world at the moment. No other news is needed.

      May 31, 2012 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
  10. sula


    May 31, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Lokust

    @Djan You can't be serious. The kid was tailed for blocks and was jumped by a guy with a gun, and you call what he did a provocation? He was fighting for his life.

    May 31, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Steve

    The mother doesn't have the stomach to face the fact that her son has the stomach to eat a face in fact.

    May 31, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • AddyAdore

      @Steve ..............WIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! hahahah

      May 31, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
  13. maureen

    somaybe the cop shud uze his tazer if the zombie waz chompin on the guys feet or hands but when the zombie went strait for the head he crossed the line

    May 31, 2012 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Derek

    Was he holding skittles and a ICE tea?

    May 31, 2012 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
  15. AddyAdore

    Goes to show that no matter how much video evidence, or extremely violent behavior someone shows or commits, there will always be someone who is in plain denial thinking that the criminal was a good person. Seen it over and over again...

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