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. Drew

    For some, you just can't separate the animal from the human. "He ain't no zombie... he my suuunn".

    June 1, 2012 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
  2. Sean

    Zombie rule #2 double tap!! Make sure to shoot him twice.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
  3. Guff

    Lady, your son ate another man's face off. There is no defense.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
  4. Sara

    Good god man....PLEASE learn to spell!

    June 1, 2012 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
  5. CDNian

    Yeah lady, your son was a real saint a true man of God.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
  6. Anonymous010

    Apologies to Eugene's mother, but if some druggie was manically chewing my face off, I'd want the police to use any and all necessary force to get them to stop immediately. The life of the innocent trumps the life of the attacker, in my opinion. Plus, if he truly was under the influence of these so-called 'bath salts', from what I've read, there's no guarantee a taser would've done anything. The responding officer made the right call.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
  7. Mike

    I think that you are missing the point. He did it. We are responsible for our own actions, or, well, at least apparently everyone not african is. They consistently blame anyone and everyone else (not african) for their actions. Pretty darned consistently.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
  8. Chris

    and THAt my friends is why I will NEVER read a stinking bible! Just look what it did to this man!! Didn't god want to 'save' him? didnt the bible teach him not to take drugs? Where are the bible bashers – i want an argument!

    June 1, 2012 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
    • The Bible didn't do anything to you

      Chris leave the Bible alone. I don't know why she had to mention the Bible so many times but if you'd read it (which by your own admission you haven't), you'd see that it does condemn drug taking and anything that is offensive the the body (which is a temple as I'm sure you've heard). Soooooooooo... makes you wonder. Was he a pretend Christian, living two lives: 1 as a die-hard Xtian and the other as a junkie (and somehow no one around him knew), or was he drugged by some VERY evil person. I'll take the second option – looks more likely. I don't like to judge people but sometimes you've just gotta. But I also believe that people must take responsibility for the actions and choices they made that led to them beng put in certain situations. You know? Anyway... His mom is right to defend her son – that's her baby. The girlfriend's just odd (in my opinion). But my heart goes out to the poor homeless man that was attacked and to the man himself IF HE WAS ACTUALLY DRUGGED BY SOMEONE ELSE WITHOUT HIS PERMISSION. And if that's the case, then its really for the best that he was killed, because if he had to live with that knowledge, he probably would've offed himself. So EVERYONE. Take a second. THINK ABOUT IT.

      June 1, 2012 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
  9. LOL

    The only thing I have to say is LOL!!!!

    June 1, 2012 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
  10. Herbert Hoover

    BTK was the president of the congregational council at his church and a Cub Scout leader. I guess he was a good man too.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
  11. asdf

    Did you here that guys, he was the proud owner of a bible. That means he must have been a good person.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
  12. fugitall

    Homeless people, It's the new beef!

    June 1, 2012 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
  13. J

    Where in the Bible does it say murder people? Please don't comment on what you don't understand. "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another just as I have loved you. By this all people will know you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:34-35

    June 1, 2012 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
  14. asdf

    If I was watching a man-beast eat another human alive and I had a taser in one hand and a gun in the other, I'd tase him after I ran out of bullets.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
    • The Dude

      Hear! Hear! ... Then reloaded and resumed firing.

      June 1, 2012 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
  15. Zombie Slayer

    Exactly Mike. Black people do not want to be held responsible for anything that their race does. And I won't even give them the courtesy of saying African's because they are not African. They are Americans and they are black. Fact and Fact. My roots stem from Scotland but I don't say I am Scottish and I don't hate the Brits for what happened to my ancestors generations and generations ago. Nor do I use that to excuse any misbehaving I might have. Grow a pair and a brain Monstrous. They man deserved to get shot and it was his own damn cause.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
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