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. Beth

    He must have some very odd mental illness or had medication that made him psychotic or took drugs that made him psychotic if he was otherwise normally behaved before this. Normal people don't do this. Sane people don't, either. I'm very sorry for all involved.

    June 1, 2012 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
  2. Corrine

    LOL. True. Please don't hold back. This mom appears to be quite delusional or just in denial. Sad all around and she really needs to accept the facts. She raised this man, more than likely KNEW he was on drugs and did nothing to help. Now she wants to play the victim card and doesn't want people to look badly at her son. HE ATE SOMEONES FACE! Sorry lady, you're not going to clean up his image.

    June 1, 2012 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
  3. Beth

    When Trayvon was walking home carrying his skittles he was not provoking anyone. When the 911 operator clearly stated not to follow Trayvon that would have been the advice to take. How was it that Zimmerman came so close to Trayvon in the first place? Who was the aggressor?

    June 1, 2012 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
  4. Jason

    There are certain times in life where politics should not be discussed. This is one of them.

    June 1, 2012 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
  5. Jon

    You all have to understand the mentality of many blacks in the black community, especially Haitians.

    Anything one of their own does is alright with them, and to them the police are always over reacting, they really do not have any sense of law and civil behavior. This holds especially true for many living in Miami Gardens.

    Here in Miami, they will protest against a police shooting though the guy the police shot has already shot two people, and was holding a gun in their hand waving at the cops.

    These people believe 100% they do no wrong. This lady is a prime example, her kid is high as a kite eating someone's face, yet she will defend all his actions, and criticize the police response.

    If a private citizen would have shot the guy, I am sure he/she would have to be in hiding and facing a lawsuit from the guy's family.

    June 1, 2012 at 8:53 am | Report abuse |
  6. loverpoint

    Looks like her bible toting son had a dark side. Time for some parents to wake up and realize that they don't always know their children as well as they think. If he had gone to prison they would have had to put him in a special section, otherwise his cellmate would have been in danger or someone would have killed him.

    June 1, 2012 at 8:54 am | Report abuse |
  7. Eddie

    Nice kids don't chew off people's faces.

    June 1, 2012 at 8:58 am | Report abuse |
  8. mk

    I'm sure someone can find a scripture somewhere that translates to god saying cannibalism is okay in his book.

    June 1, 2012 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Igor

      Jesus was a zombie too

      June 1, 2012 at 9:06 am | Report abuse |
  9. fugitall

    I guess "Zombie" is a little harsh. How about; drug crazed cannibalistic pervert?

    June 1, 2012 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Anon E Moose

      Naaaah... too harsh.

      What about:

      Recreational-drug-using, same-species-eating, undead-American

      June 1, 2012 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
  10. fugitall

    I guess now we are going to see groups rallying for cannibal rights! Their slogan can be "don't breed em of you can't eat em"

    You look really good today!..No I mean really...nummm nummm nummm

    June 1, 2012 at 9:03 am | Report abuse |
  11. Satan

    Um, don't people who see their zombie kids or spouses walk around maintain that it's their kid or spouse...even though it's a voracious eating machine. Kill it!

    June 1, 2012 at 9:03 am | Report abuse |
    • AshleyM512

      Double tap!

      June 1, 2012 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
  12. mike k.

    That's right, lady. Start building your case now.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:03 am | Report abuse |
  13. John

    wow, despite the fact that what happened was horrific you guys are such angry stone throwers. half of you probably also claim to be somehow affiliated with religion or spirituality. just food for thought.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      You might want to be the stones down yourself. That line about spirituality and religion was loaded with malice.

      June 1, 2012 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
  14. John

    you were there?

    June 1, 2012 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
  15. Boom

    Obama is not Kenyan...he just lived there for a stint.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
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