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. Laureth

    Ever notice how all the weird stuff seems to happen in Florida?

    June 1, 2012 at 6:45 am | Report abuse |
  2. raul masen

    like kanye's song says... there is no Church in the Wild.

    June 1, 2012 at 6:47 am | Report abuse |
  3. David

    Card giving, Bible tapping maneater

    June 1, 2012 at 7:06 am | Report abuse |
  4. QZ

    He was not zombie, but much worse than zombie.

    June 1, 2012 at 7:07 am | Report abuse |
  5. dashikirona

    Zombies wearing dashikis are entering into Ameirca as pirates from Africa on a daily basis...getting ready to eat all the whhites who don't vote for Obama!

    June 1, 2012 at 7:09 am | Report abuse |
  6. old gaffer

    I suppose technically the mom is correct, as her son wasn't dead when he started to dine on the victim's face; zombies don't start that behavior until AFTER they're dead.

    Of course, he could just be an early adopter...

    June 1, 2012 at 7:10 am | Report abuse |
  7. Rick

    Yes he is a zombie.

    June 1, 2012 at 7:13 am | Report abuse |
  8. TruthinATL

    Tasing him would also have meant tasing the victim, with his face was already eaten off. Victim would probably have died and perpetrator would live. Cop did the right thing.

    June 1, 2012 at 7:18 am | Report abuse |
  9. citizenUSA

    C'mon mom... You know that term was coined due to pop culture. There is no such thing in real life. However you wouldn't want "cannibal" to be the term either, even though it also doesn't fit. I'm sorry your son had such a hard time with life.

    June 1, 2012 at 7:40 am | Report abuse |
  10. Derek

    Really? He wasn't actually a zombie?! don't say? .... Man I was convinced we had a real zombie on our hands...

    June 1, 2012 at 7:47 am | Report abuse |
  11. Billy Z

    You guys are just hilarious! I wish I could have seen some of your posts on 9/11, I'm sure you saw the humor in that tragedy too!

    June 1, 2012 at 7:51 am | Report abuse |
  12. JW

    With those kinds of drugs in his body and that intense heat on his head; his brain was absolutely frying. Any thought, suggestion, idea or imagination became reality to him.

    June 1, 2012 at 7:57 am | Report abuse |
  13. brains

    BRRRRRRRAINS!!!!! Send more paramedics!!!

    June 1, 2012 at 8:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Funny movie. Appropriate reference

      June 1, 2012 at 8:07 am | Report abuse |
  14. MCF335

    Whoa, folks! What about getting to the source here; A "state" that actually hasn't got the situation under control.
    Where stores actually pedal speed dressed up as "bath salts"!?! Low taxes down there, and you get what you pay for (as they say....) appears to be appropriate. Here we ALL are ladies & gentlemen; in the "Somewhat cooperative States of America".

    June 1, 2012 at 8:09 am | Report abuse |
  15. ZombieFrogHorde

    life just isnt for everyone....

    June 1, 2012 at 8:11 am | Report abuse |
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