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. caesarbc

    Sorry ma'am... by definition that is exactly what he was... a friggen zombie.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
  2. fugitall

    Not a Zombie?! It's a little late for him to SAVE FACE now!

    June 1, 2012 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
  3. Van

    The officer shot him once and the man only looked at the officer and growled while holding a piece of flesh in his teeth. Don't blame the officer at all for shooting him again, that was one sick dude who deserved the death sentence and at least the state does have to support him for the next 25 yrs for it to be carried out. The people I feel sorry for is the poor victim and the officer who has to live with what he saw.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
  4. midwestrngrl

    your son may have been a good kid at one time. but mental illness or more likely drugs took him to the crazy door

    June 1, 2012 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
  5. What in the world is going on ?

    Obviously another case of possession by an ungodly creature. You see it all the time in politics and face eating people. We need to get the investigators of paranormal activity of this one.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
  6. joe

    once again. the victim is forgotten and the killer get all the press. where does this end?

    June 1, 2012 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
    • yesheiz

      i agree.

      June 1, 2012 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Susan

      Found the full video on YouTube. It appears that for a FULL seven minutes nobody offered aid to the victim. At least 9 police cars and all of them are standing as far away from the victim as possible. I see his leg twitching twice and then he finally rolls over on his back and tries to sit up. Please tell me someone was sitting with him and the bridge was blocking the view.

      June 1, 2012 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
    • AmericanSam

      Maybe the victim doesn't want the press?

      June 1, 2012 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
    • JerseyJeff

      In this case, could it be any other way?
      If he shot or stabbed an innocent I can see talking about the victim more.... But this is a case that breaks all types of taboo's and is so odd, how could it not be about the killer? For Christs sake, he ate the mans face!

      June 1, 2012 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
  7. Truth

    @Beers No, the zombies are the people who walk through life with no clue what the bible says, and lack understanding of what's really going on in the world around them. They follow the media, and other people like them, not God. Its literally the blind leading the blind. We call them the walking dead.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
    • EatYouAlive

      Truth: Your Truth is false fruit for the ones who cannot believe that we are tiny specs in the universe and our destiny is death. HAND

      June 1, 2012 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Religion

      No.. Zombies are people who die and come back to life. You know like Jesus.

      Or the people who eat flesh... you know like Christians during communion.

      June 1, 2012 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
    • yOU DON'T sAY

      Who are 'we' in your post?

      June 1, 2012 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
  8. Zombie Slayer

    I am going to tell you all something. The church is secretly implementing a serum into the public that makes them do this. They want people to believe in satan again, thus god. But I tell you what. If you ever come across a female zombie, she has no morals whatsoever. She will not judge you either and you dont even need a pickup line. Put some tape on her mouth and you have a life partner. So in a way, I am kind of thankful for the conspiracy being done by the church. I have four zombie play toys and I never get bored.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Kingofthenet

      Alright, are you making sure they, 'Put the Lotion on their skin'?

      June 1, 2012 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Arthurrrr

      are you insane????

      June 1, 2012 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
    • willy

      That's more scary than you think. Stay on line a little longer. We almost have your location pin pointed. I'm just kidding.

      June 1, 2012 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Bobington

      Are you in need of a new tin foil hat?

      June 1, 2012 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  9. yesheiz

    you are correct.....he is a dopehead usless subhuman.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
  10. Lynn

    Also...I wanted to add....the only thing more frightening than the fact that this happened ,is the comments I have read on here.Simply ashamed,and surprised.Imagine yourselves as someone close any of the responders,the victim,or the offender.All of a sudden it is a part of your reality....something that will haunt all those it has affected for a lifetime.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
  11. Truth

    @Zombie Slayer

    I was responding to people like you. But You certainly have judged the church with your ignorant comment. How about you seek God before you judge Him or his people. Because one day He will judge you.

    June 1, 2012 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      Those of us who are not religious are free to judge without being a hypocrite.....christians cannot....then again, you can't really be a christian without being a hypocrite...it goes hand in hand

      June 1, 2012 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
  12. knightrider1755

    Taser him? No the police did the right thing by taking him out. His mama must be on bath salts too.

    June 1, 2012 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
  13. Rob

    it's not self defense if you picked the fight....Zimmerman stalked, attacked, and murdered the guy that was trying to defend himself from the wanna-be pig....

    June 1, 2012 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  14. Ed G.

    You are what you eat!

    June 1, 2012 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  15. John Smith

    He's not Black, hes Haitian, for those who only see things only in Black and White.

    June 1, 2012 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
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