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. Anonymous

    The mother is speaking out of grief and visceral emotion. Why are you lot judging her as if she was speaking from a position of logic and objectivity?

    It's easy to cast aspersions about people we've never met. Imagine for a moment the person you love most in this world did something truly terrible, and you were asked to describe what that person was like. Suddenly things aren't so black and white....

    Carry on.

    May 31, 2012 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Capt. Zeb

      Want a breast or a thigh?

      May 31, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Capt. Zeb

      Ummm, and do remember he was naked. Tribe fever.

      May 31, 2012 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Capt. Zeb

    Mom, He should have had a cross carved into his back and set on fire.

    What would you have expected if he was tased and handcuffed? He was eating a person for god sake. Maybe you should ask Gods forgiveness and be glad he is gone.

    May 31, 2012 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ogre12

    I feel that 2 individuals unfortunately sold their souls to satan and that is now where they are destined. I pray this not the case but I have a stong feeling. May Jesus please have mercy upon them both perp and victim on the last day...

    May 31, 2012 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Deeznuts

    Dude was a zombie, Taser wouldn't have done anything.

    May 31, 2012 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
  5. maureen

    if the president had a zombie son he wud look just like this guy

    May 31, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
  6. J_Bird_01

    Sick! If I ever turn "zombie", and chew someone's face off, I hope someone out there would be kind enough to shoot me on the spot. Thank you in advance, and God bless!!!

    May 31, 2012 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Dan

    "He was no zombie."

    That is what they all say.

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

    I am in the middle of watching Land of the Dead by George Romero, the GOD of Zombie movies. This article is almost too wild to read.

    May 31, 2012 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Brian, Detroit, MI

    Maybe it was the constant emersion in religion that made him go off the deep end. Oh, god this, god that, THERE IS NO GOD!!! Only the stupid believe in a god anymore.

    May 31, 2012 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • nokat

      Maybe it was the constant use of hallucinogens. Nice try blaming GOD, people make their own choices.
      GOD did not create zombies.

      May 31, 2012 at 10:56 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Leigh2

    No, he was a cross between a zombie -vampire. At any rate, may that poor man whose face was chewed apart recover. What a horrible thing to happen. Lesson learned~ don't do things which alter your brain ~ that being drugs and alcohol and even naturally occurring things like hallucinogenic fungi. Insane~ 'Bath Salts'. People will do anything to get high. Next people will be snorting 'Mrs. Dash' up their noses.

    May 31, 2012 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jeremy from San Francisco

    The family is going through the common steps of grieving, but they seem to be doing all the steps at once, and denying the truth. He was eating a guy's face off, I personally believe that the perpetrator should be's just unfortunate that he was killed. But for real, a taser might not subdue a man who's ridiculously strung out of his mind...bath salts, from what i have read, can cause massive hallucinations and paranoia, which leads to a large rush of adrenaline. Plus, this was on a police officer...other cops don't take kindly to drug heads eating their partner's face off.

    May 31, 2012 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeremy from San Francisco

      oh crap, i read this article too fast. he chewed the face off of a homeless man, not a cop. idk why i thought i had read that. but still, he was chewing a guy's face off. people on bathsalts can seem to have superhuman strength, he needed to be put down immediately...unfortunately...

      May 31, 2012 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    You know? When your forced to spend $32.00 for a bucket of chicken, if your hungry enough, you'll do....

    May 31, 2012 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jeremy from San Francisco


    May 31, 2012 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
  14. blake

    Mom, what do you call a young man who rips the face of another living human being and eats it. He was not a good kid. He was a freak He was deeply disturbed.

    May 31, 2012 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Steve

    he's been added to the growing list of members on the zombie social media network, EatYourFacebook

    May 31, 2012 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
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