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. Theresa Stewart

    How in the world can the g/f blame what her b/f did on someone else? Excuses. Carrying a bible does not make one a good person. What one does in the world determines a person's "goodness". He will be forever remembered for his choices.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bob

    At least we know why this zombie turned out the way he did. Nothing like a mother making excuses for her son. Typical..... you know what I mean.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • PEDO BEAR

      No...no I don't. 🙂

      May 31, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  3. lilgtogirl

    She loves him so much that she does not want to be named, because God forbid anyone knows she is his mother. I hate when people like this judge cops for how they react, yet she does not even like her son to claim him as her own.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jamie

    I thought that earlier reporting said that both men were homeless. Now, this report says he was living with a girlfriend. Most Bible-believing Christians also aren't knee-deep into experimenting with street drugs either. At least, as far as I know. Lots of incongruities in the reporting so far in this. Either way, a very sad story...for Eugene, for Poppo, for the families involved. All just a shame. Meanwhile, drugs continue to pour into our country, aided and abetted by any who make money in the process. Problem is that no one holding the power to change the source gives a crap until the significant loss such as this happens to them directly.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Anomic Office Drone

    Sorry, no. When you're eating someone else's face, the police should skip straight to guns. If this guy had just been walking around high and naked then yes, they should have used the taser. That's not what happened though. HE WAS EATING SOMEONE'S FACE.

    And I say that as a liberal who doesn't particularly like the way police or firearms are dealt with in this country.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dantheman

      Yes, Shoot Hannibal. Ask Q's later.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • college student

      I'm quite conservative, but I'm glad there is something we agree on 🙂 Faith in humanity +1 Zombie -1

      May 31, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  6. KW

    He ATE a man's face off! Does cannibal sound better?

    May 31, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  7. kms

    75% of the mans face is gone and this woman is still going to defend her son? He might've been a nice kid the day before but at the moment he assaulted another human being and at 75% of their face. No, he could not have been just tased.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Norm

    A zombie only a mother could love.
    Feed your lawn....
    FEED IT.............

    May 31, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  9. JesusIsNotReal

    His love for BIBLE explains his behavior.. Crazy person used drugs and went crazy person zombie mode...

    May 31, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ryan

    someone needs to shoot the mother and girlfriend for sticking up for the zombie

    May 31, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Xman

    At what point does his stupid family (mother and sister) read the part where he was chewing on a homeless man's face for 18 minutes? Where was his Bible then?

    The police put down the slime where he stood. That's what should have happened, and now the tax payer's only burden will be the medical bills.

    Stupid people.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Fred

    Zombies eat brains.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Emigdio

      why stop at the brain?

      May 31, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jimmy B

      Only slow moving zombies eat brains. Fast moving zombies eat flesh.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • umm

      That is not really true. Some zombies eat brains in some stories, sure, but in general they eat flesh.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Zombies eat flesh in general

      May 31, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Z

      Of course zombies eat brains. His face just happened to be in the way

      May 31, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • prestonsc

      Well...if he had been given time...he might have gotten to the brain.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Johnny Trouble

      Zombies only eat brains in one series of movies... Return of the Living Dead... All other zombies just attack by biting...

      May 31, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rich

      Only in the Return of the Living Dead series. Most eat flesh. Or cheesy poofs – I forget.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • humberto

      Is that what happened to yours?

      May 31, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • humberto

      Is that what happened to your brain Fred ?

      May 31, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Granny

      I want that police officer for my neighbor!!!!!!!!!!! Vote for him to be the next president of USA!

      May 31, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sporty

      He was getting to that till the police showed up...he was on list last bite before brains...

      May 31, 2012 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      he didn't get a chance to get that deep into the poor guy's head.

      June 1, 2012 at 12:19 am | Report abuse |
    • knightrider1755

      I am certain had he been able to continue his feast, he would've gotten around to eating the brain.

      June 1, 2012 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Dangerkittie

      But Fred, they must go through either the skull or face to get to it. Skull not friendly to teeth.

      June 1, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  13. John Bologna

    Its funny or you haven't heard anything from Jesse, Al, or Farrakhan on this one. Guess they are staying away from the zombie apocalypse/cannibal/face eating/race war theory. White cop vs Black zombie isn't very good public propaganda.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Janice

    Everyone knows the taser has no effect on a zombie. You have to cut the head off with a chainsaw or a bullet to the brain, and since most police don't carry chainsaws.....

    May 31, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Techsupport

    I'm sorry ma'am, but in situations like these, you have to remove the head or destroy the brain.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
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