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. t

    got the munchies...

    just sayin. don't do drugs kids!

    May 31, 2012 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
  2. SeanD

    For all you nit wits and knuckleheads who think it's funny to joke about this brutal attack, go to google, click images, and put in zombie eating face. You'll see on the second row of pictures – the medical photo of what's left of the victims face. After you puke in your mouth, rethink your "hilarious" quips and comedy, and look at the reality of your stupidity. An innocent man was brutally mauled by another man. Stick to making jokes about butterflies and dishonest politicians.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Anonymous

    so when was this story turned into an act of racism?

    May 31, 2012 at 11:27 pm | Report abuse |
  4. God's truth

    I Quote from
    The Greek word “pharmakia” literally means “drugs”, and appears five times in the New Testament: in Gal 5:20, Rev 9:21, 18:23, 21:8, and 22:15.

    “Pharmakia” is translated into our English Bible as either “witchcraft” or “sorceries”. We also get our English word “pharmacy” from the Greek word “pharmakia”.

    In each of the above five passages, “pharmakia”, or “drugs” is listed as a work of the flesh of man as opposed to the Spirit of God working in us.

    For example, Gal 5:16-23 in the KJV:

    16 “[This] I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

    17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

    18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

    19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are [these]; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

    20 Idolatry, witchcraft (“pharmakia” or drug use), hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

    21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told [you] in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

    So I say its a spiritual thing...voodoo, witchcraft or whatever u would like to call it. Those Bath salts must've been a form of witch craft.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Alexander

    Remember that bath salts would not exist if the government had not made schedule one and schedule two drugs illegal to feed the profit machine of a corrupt medical industry.

    Let freedom ring.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:29 pm | Report abuse |
  6. akow

    the man was eating someone who was still alive"killing him" he was told to back off a few times and didn't ..officer shot him once, and kept eating the then he killed him " i agree with the officers actions on this"

    May 31, 2012 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
  7. kovoski

    OK...seriously folks all the negativity isnt warranted. what ever caused this young man to do what he did. that should be the focus and should be taken care of. what was seen in that video is vile and should not be repeated. I am sure that the mother/Girlfriend/highschool friend would not be saying things good about him if he was really that troubled.So, lets give them their rights to grieve for the loss of the poor individual. That was horrific in nature I agree . Could the officer have used a Taser who knows the officer reacted in the best way he could. The officer reacted in the only way he could at the time, would the taser have worked ? we dont know because the officer used deadly force but that isnt the issue here the officer was trying to save the life of a victim not trying to make a bad b flick movie come to life ...

    May 31, 2012 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Unlucky_Eddy

    Ok Zombie Nut here, Ma'am once your boy has become a Zombie he ain't yer son anymore. I've got my Ruger 10/22 ready and waitin for the Outbreak!

    Now that I've got that out of the way. There was something wrong with him. Weather it be drugs or something wrong with his mind I don't know, but to eat a man's face is just wrong.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:38 pm | Report abuse |
  9. BBB129

    Ok – sounds crazy but look at his ears – that is seriously one way to tell he was a lunatic! Call me crazy but I have seen other deranged people who have either committed a serious crime or murdered with the same crazy, creepy ears – I'm telling ya it's a sure sign of a demented person...

    May 31, 2012 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • chefitup

      I'm calling you crazy for suggesting it was his ears. ????? People perplex me when they say such things

      June 1, 2012 at 12:19 am | Report abuse |
    • fred37ify

      Well one things for sure ! That ain't Barracks kid ! The ears are all wrong !

      June 1, 2012 at 12:23 am | Report abuse |
    • amber

      i better go look at my ears to make sure i don't kill anyone

      June 1, 2012 at 12:52 am | Report abuse |
  10. kovoski

    there is always a lthin line that differentiates self defense and murder ..the treyvon case...well i can see both ways. but no one can really define it ..we werent there seeing it go down. but alot of so called experts think they know how it happened. I am not going to say what I think and spur some debate. All I can say is let justice handle this. all ready this thing has been blown out of porportion. Lets leave the 18th cnetury and how they lived in the 18th century. Lets start over and realize we are all made by the same creator and no one is better than the other ..and that's my statement on the issue..

    May 31, 2012 at 11:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • zombine

      religious nutcase, just like the attacker's girl friend.

      Bath salts did this to this guy? Hahahaha, yeah ok, next thing we know, kids will rush to stores to trip balls on bath salts.

      June 1, 2012 at 12:56 am | Report abuse |
  11. in8te

    Tragedy takes many faces (pun accidental).

    May 31, 2012 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
  12. chumina

    one ugly zombie.

    May 31, 2012 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Pateboo

    Don't ALL "nice kids" chew 75% of people's faces off?

    May 31, 2012 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      no kidding...sounds like she didn't really know her own kid.

      June 1, 2012 at 12:18 am | Report abuse |
  14. JA

    Isn't this how an episode of Supernatural usually starts out?

    May 31, 2012 at 11:59 pm | Report abuse |
  15. AJZ

    lets blame holly-wood

    June 1, 2012 at 12:13 am | Report abuse |
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