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.

Post by:
Filed under: Crime • Drugs • Florida
soundoff (1,699 Responses)
  1. flat

    sure, tell that to the guy that got his face chewed off

    June 1, 2012 at 1:44 am | Report abuse |
  2. Cortanis

    A month for the tox report.... You'd think that given the public exposure on this that it would have been bumped waaaay up on that list to get it out faster.

    June 1, 2012 at 1:47 am | Report abuse |
  3. kayla

    or maybe PCP???

    June 1, 2012 at 1:53 am | Report abuse |
  4. Zombie Hunter

    The zombie apocalypse is upon us! This is only the start, soon more and more zombies will rise! We must stay alert, before you know it you could wake up and the zombies have over ran our military and police. Survivors must be smart and swift. Make sure to load up on survival gear, weapons, and you must have a good plan of action. Be alert, you never know who will be a zombie!

    June 1, 2012 at 1:57 am | Report abuse |
  5. krozar

    He didn't see a face. All he saw were some Skittles.

    June 1, 2012 at 2:19 am | Report abuse |
  6. Jim

    I agree,,, why not use a taser to subdue him instead of shooting him. I wondered that the first time I heard of this, guess Miami police is trigger happy.

    June 1, 2012 at 2:21 am | Report abuse |
  7. Cuddles

    Now who's laughing at the kid who rode the short bus and wore a helmet??? Ya, everyone will start investing in those. He knew about this crap years ago.

    Has anyone stopped to think that maybe this guy just had a craving for red meat??? Just sayin'.
    Still can't figure out why the cop didn't just blast him in his face after the first shot.

    June 1, 2012 at 2:26 am | Report abuse |
  8. Lights' OUT

    I don't remember the part in the BIBLE that says, " Thou shall become enraged and ingest another man's face in the name of GOD. " Ya mom, your son was a real saint!

    June 1, 2012 at 2:39 am | Report abuse |
  9. UnFred

    Uhhh.... Yeah Mom, He was a Zombie! Good shooting police, way too save the taxpayers some money.

    June 1, 2012 at 2:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Realitybites

      Agreed. Taxpayers only had to account for the relatively cheap bullets used.

      June 1, 2012 at 4:08 am | Report abuse |
  10. PrpleLghtnin

    Although I don't really buy into the whole Zombie thing and prefer to think he was just some drugged up, wacked out person.......... I would really love his mother to tell the victim or his family members that he was a good boy and didn't deserve to be shot! Easy to tell the press that! Go tell the victim what a good boy he was!

    June 1, 2012 at 2:49 am | Report abuse |
    • yvonne

      i agre with you 100% !,seems like mom is in toyal denial.But if she thinks her son was not to bleme for ,why she won't even give her name ?! wake up lady.

      June 1, 2012 at 2:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Florist

      The part where his live-in girlfriend says that it was his body but not his spirit pretty much does it for me. Zombie.

      June 1, 2012 at 3:39 am | Report abuse |
    • ncb1010

      "I would really love his mother to tell the victim or his family members that he was a good boy "

      Don't think the family members really care at all given that they let him live on the street.

      June 1, 2012 at 3:57 am | Report abuse |
  11. Dave

    You can't taser a dude that's high on PCP...just sayin.

    June 1, 2012 at 2:58 am | Report abuse |
  12. Trina

    Wake up mamma. Your son was a naked violent drg abuser who ate a mans face off. May he burn in hell! Stop defending him!

    June 1, 2012 at 3:03 am | Report abuse |
  13. dondijon

    If Cannabis were legal people would not resort to these "Alternative Drugs" and this sort of thing would not be happening, after all who gets violent on weed xcept for those who alreadt have that propensity...

    June 1, 2012 at 3:15 am | Report abuse |
  14. Mahagwa

    i honestly can not think of any drug that would lead one to chew the face of another human being. they may say hallucinations, but why take the clothes off? why pick this particular HOMELESS old man? they say drugs, but i doubt it.
    i think it is something much deeper, and i am not talking some off the wall conspiracy theories... a cannibal kills and then cooks his human meal. this guy ate this man when this man was alive... if anyone has seen the victim's face, it is absolutely astounding.

    June 1, 2012 at 3:26 am | Report abuse |
    • PrpleLghtnin

      Just curious on why you capitalised the word homeless in your post..

      June 1, 2012 at 3:43 am | Report abuse |
    • warsteiner

      Pcp or even stimulants like Meth or crack can induce serious Psychotic breaks in the user

      June 1, 2012 at 5:08 am | Report abuse |
  15. Boinky

    Did he get fries with it?

    June 1, 2012 at 3:48 am | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77