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. Theresa Stewart

    Who is this "mother" to tell a trained police officer how to handle a violent attack with a deranged person ripping the face off of another human being and growling in response to a direct order to cease and desist? Apparently, this "mother" appreciated when police officers saved her from her son's assault in the past, and thanked them from keeping him from killing her. It appears this "mother" is sniffing for a police abuse situation, and probably hoping for some type of compensation. The community should see if she is somehow liable for this deranged cannibal, and see if they can sue her to recover costs for helping the rescuers (who probably face therapy for dealing with the brutal carnage her son forced them to face) and the poor, helpless victim who did nothing to provoke this assault.

    I'm shocked this "mother" has the audacity to criticize anyone but herself for where her son ended up. How did she nurture such a violent son????

    May 31, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • TwM

      She is just prepping for her frivolous lawsuit against the city and the police officers.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • guest

      i agree that the police officers acted properly and had no choice but to shoot this man. but why attack his mother? by all accounts to date, it appears that the man was under the influence of a drug which took complete control of his mind and he had no idea what he was doing. up until that moment, he was a law abiding citizen with no criminal record and might have been very nice and religious. any mother would want to see her child live, even if he committed a horrible act while drugged out. think of a wonderful sweet pet dog that contracts rabies. the owners would love to save the dog rather than kill it. it is a sad situation. but there is no evidence of bad parenting or prior bad acts by this man.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  2. copanut

    Being a zombie and being a Bible worshiper sound pretty much like the same thing to me. Both creatures walk around in an empty-headed daze, and both make a habit of eating human flesh and blood.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • TwM

      LOL Great post Copanut

      May 31, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • walker

      ha ha ha, copanut, you're a simpleton

      May 31, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Trav

    Crazy people do crazy stuff sober or under the influence.People need to take responsibility for their actions not blaming drugs, their parents, life, the government ect.Fact is that no one should use drugs some people really shouldn't (see above) then some shouldn't be subject to the same regulations as the crazy people who can't handle themselves in a appropriate manner!!

    May 31, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Justin

    bath salts are a derivative of methamphetamine and all cases concerning them involve suicide and slight schizophrenia. definitely was on some heavier drugs than something you pick up at the local corner store. he could have killed that man, son or not, how can you defend cannibalism? he was shot and CONTINUED to chew on the face, unfazed. here's a thought..wanna get tasered? dont do drugs that turn you into a cannibal.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  5. CrabMeat

    Good riddance to the stupid bastage.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Brian

    Am I the only one that thinks the victim looks like Charles Manson?

    May 31, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fozzie Bear

      I wouldn't know. I haven't seen his face.

      Whaacka Whaacka Whaacka!

      May 31, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  7. cw

    Wow. I feel terrible for this woman, in large part because she's clearly clueless about what her "kid" was capable of doing and in fact WAS doing (BTW, 31 years old is not a "kid" anymore). Tazing a drug-addled face-eater probably wasn't high on the to-do list of the cops on scene. Immediately stopping the face-eating psycho was probably of greater importance than determining if this face-eating psycho was actually a nice "kid". I hate to say this, the whole thing sucks.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  8. carrie

    i heard they had to shoot him from 6-15 times. if one bullet couldn't stop him from eating a man's face, i doubt a taser would.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  9. James

    Even the devil can quote the Bible. Knowing the words and living the words are worlds apart.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mr. Jones

      There is no such thing as "the devil". There's just bad people.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • politicalwindbag

      There is no devil.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Byrd

    ok i totally get his friends saying "this wasnt like him" but c'mon really? Would anybody ever be like "who? bob did what? oh I can totally see bob doing that" or "sounds like bob" I dont think anyone would ever expect anyone to act like this

    May 31, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • tray

      Exactly! They are all trying to find excuses for this sicko like bath salt and talking about how nice he was. Actions speak louder than words my friends and we are much safer with this guy out of the picture.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Colin Morgan

      I don't know. There's a couple of really strange and creepy people I've met in my global travels. if one of them was accussed of a zombie cannibal attack, I would believe it.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Michael Brown

    I'm glad they didn't tase him or else we'd just see him in prison wasting 40k a year on taxes just to keep him in prison.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Slewatha

    Should have shot him straight out when they saw it happening.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |

      They the video footage from the Miami Herald security camera. The cop wasted no time in cleaning the streets of one more zombie.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Slewatha

      My bad, some of the articles say there was some hesitation on his part. Good for the officer.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jake Hammond

    "'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."

    The Bible isn't a bloody good luck totem. It's just a book, and quoting from it won't stop you from becoming a crazed maniac if you consume some foul drugs.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Truthbetold

    Sorry for your loss as a mother but when someone is eating someone else's shoot them.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      I understand the mother is grieving, but her response seems pretty hollow, he ate a guys face, he might not have been a zombie, but he was acting like one regardless. I bet it wasn't the son she knew, but if someone is tearing off a guys face, and the drug he was allegedly on is known to cause these type of effects and be very difficult to keep someone down the officer did the right thing in shooting him to end the ordeal before it went from horrific to catastrophic.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anon E Moose

      Shoot him ?? What happened to the tried-and-true Time Out ?

      May 31, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Rich

    Folks, give the mother a little slack. None of us want to believe that our children could do such horrible things. Let her process this without being so cruel...

    May 31, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
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