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. Bono

    Just another case of a white police officer killing a black man. Racism in this country must stop!

    June 1, 2012 at 12:13 am | Report abuse |
  2. DN3

    I'm not sure it would have been that easy to tase a guy who's chewing on another guy's face. Would take a coordinated effort and you'd need armour in case he turned around and started biting the police officers. Besides, with him high on that LSD-like stuff, the amoutn of tasing required to subdue him might have killed them anyway.

    June 1, 2012 at 12:18 am | Report abuse |
    • mg100

      it wasnt a lsd like substance... lsd would never make anyone do anything like that. the media is just stupid w hen it comes to that

      June 1, 2012 at 12:30 am | Report abuse |
  3. John Dough

    That's what happens when they run out of white meat at Church's!

    June 1, 2012 at 12:23 am | Report abuse |
  4. bebe

    What's up with white dudes and black dudes (serial killer, mass murderer, crazies; Ted Bundy, Jeffery Damer, John Gacy, Green River killer to name a few). Is it society, culture, or genetic aberation? You rarely hear about asians committing this kind of actions. I think it is genetic.

    June 1, 2012 at 12:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Tazed

      Im guessing you've never been to asia

      June 1, 2012 at 12:40 am | Report abuse |
    • cachamelion

      You need to look at history a bit. Some of the most brutal serial killers of all time were Asian.

      June 1, 2012 at 12:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Arnold

      Jiverly Wong (Binghamton, NY massacre) and Seung-Hui Cho (Virginia Tech massacre) come to mind.

      June 1, 2012 at 12:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Alfred

      Read up on Charles Ng. He killed upwards of 25 people in the 80s. Andrew Cunanan killed Gianni Versace and four other people. Seung Hui Cho shot up Virginia Tech a few years ago. Just a couple months ago One Goh did that mass shooting at that college in Oakland, CA. All these guys are Asian.

      June 1, 2012 at 1:04 am | Report abuse |
  5. John Dough

    Nothing says "I care" more eloquently than biting someone's nose and ingesting it! Yes, a "Hallmark moment" to cherish–multiculturalism personified!

    June 1, 2012 at 12:26 am | Report abuse |
  6. Tazed

    You want the guys tazed ?? He was growling and eating a mans face and you want him tazed ? Im more upset that the cop had to shoot him 4 times, dosnt he know 1 to the head would of done ? I thought everyone watched The Walking Dead.

    June 1, 2012 at 12:38 am | Report abuse |
  7. Tony in STL

    Unless you knew the guy, why bother with the hate. I'm sure the guy waaaas a nice guy, ..until he got that stuff in him. Then he became a zombie. It could happen to anyone, ...probably.

    June 1, 2012 at 12:52 am | Report abuse |
    • David

      His mom's statement to police officers in 2004 who were responding to a domestic dispute: "Thank God you’re here, [Rudy] would have killed me..." Apparently her son threatened to put a gun to her head and shoot her... Real sweet kid.

      June 1, 2012 at 1:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Tact in STL

      Word. Central West End!

      June 1, 2012 at 2:01 am | Report abuse |
  8. Scones

    Did they shoot him in the head?

    June 1, 2012 at 1:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Punjab83

      A very good and relevant question.

      June 1, 2012 at 1:44 am | Report abuse |
  9. vic

    was just "bath salts", that's EXACTLY what the CDC would say to stop a nation wide panic

    June 1, 2012 at 1:22 am | Report abuse |
    • DPatriot


      June 1, 2012 at 1:26 am | Report abuse |
    • ak malone

      Good point Vic....zombie apocolypse ahead....I hope u all have got ur machetes and shotguns##

      June 1, 2012 at 2:12 am | Report abuse |
  10. Car Chaser

    It is surely posible that sweet Trayvon simply messed with the wrong guy, One thing, then another. Next thing ya know, its a funeral. No doubt a tragic event

    June 1, 2012 at 1:22 am | Report abuse |
  11. DPatriot

    Im sure there is a song , Black Zombie somewhere

    June 1, 2012 at 1:26 am | Report abuse |
    • mypitts2

      DPatriot wrote: "Im sure there is a song , Black Zombie somewhere"

      The rapper Nas has a song called "Black Zombies."

      June 1, 2012 at 2:09 am | Report abuse |
  12. cynical

    um, just pointing out the obvious, but if Trayvon was "provoked" then his slamming the provokers head into the sidewalk was "self defense"-not the other guy shooting can't both provoke a fight then claim it's "self defense" when you kill the person you attacked

    June 1, 2012 at 1:35 am | Report abuse |
  13. Ken

    You are all idiots I did alot of drugs when I was young and crazy but never got the urge to eat someones face off. If these bath salts are the problem why don't they get rid of them and what kind of idiot snorts bath salts anyhow.

    June 1, 2012 at 1:39 am | Report abuse |
    • mickey1313

      The dea is working on banning them, problem most bath salts, but most of them cannot be used as a drug. I think shooting the offender ( violent) is a better way to go. The government wastes to much tax money doing drug baby sitting.

      June 1, 2012 at 1:45 am | Report abuse |
    • infinity-8

      I think bath salts are a nickname for a particular formulation of amphetamine... not actual bath salts...

      June 1, 2012 at 2:04 am | Report abuse |
  14. Digna

    Why kill anyone who is acting bad why??? Is that the only first step from the police/authority? Its only guns and guns to people who are doing something wrong. Why not catch those people and turn them to authority????

    June 1, 2012 at 1:40 am | Report abuse |
    • mickey1313

      He was eating someone, they told him to stop he did not, they shot him, he kept chomping down, so they wasted him. If you saw someone ripping someone's face off, would you try to grab them? If you say yes i call bs, off nuts

      June 1, 2012 at 1:49 am | Report abuse |
  15. SDragongm

    Though I doubt this occured to his mother, the cannibal was on the victim, using a taser could put the victim at greater risk as the taser probes are rarely as exact as a well aimed shot. If the officer ended up hitting the victim with one or both of the probes it would have likely further traumatized the victim

    Considering the victim was likely already in a state of shock this could have been very bad, the only thing he could do was shoot the suspect. Any other method would have put either the victim or the officer at greater risk. Lesson for the day? Eat someones face get shot to death.

    June 1, 2012 at 1:44 am | Report abuse |
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