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. Captain Obvious

    Attack of the Face-Eating Christian Zombies. Sounds like a 1960s horror flick.

    June 1, 2012 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
  2. Patrish

    Well apparently, reading the bible and being super religious takes it tole. It's highly likely he was on some odd drug. Sorry, but if you chew someone's face off, i'd stop you anyway I cold.

    June 1, 2012 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
  3. Michael

    A christian who went every where with his bible, eager to lend a helping hand, a good kid? well.... your good kid apparently has an extensive police record involving violence (against said girlfriend) and was apparently under the influence of a drug known and popular for mimicking the effects of meth. To mom and girlfriend... tell it like it is! Anyone who eats the face of a living human being and then growls at the cops deserves to be shot!

    June 1, 2012 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  4. conrad

    It also prevented him from ever having to feel remorse for his actions.

    Imagine coming out of such a drug induced state and having to face the depths of your own depravity. I believe he needed to know what he did and deal with it.

    I've never been able to understand why so many people in this country are so interested in using drugs. It just ruins lives.

    June 1, 2012 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  5. Zombie Hunter

    The very definition of being a zombie is the eating of human flesh. Saying he wasn't one is like looking at a duck and saying "That's not a duck."

    June 1, 2012 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  6. Kira

    😐 I wonder when his mother will look past the fact that her son was shot by police and realize that her 'good kid' was EATING SOMEONE'S FACE.

    And ugh, bath salts. Bath salts are literally bath salts. One issue is that sketchy drug dealers are cutting them with other drugs without saying so, or just selling straight up crushed bath salts, claiming that it's MDMA, etc.

    And then, there are people who find out you can get high off of crushed up $1 bath salts from Walmart and are dumb enough to do it. I actually met a girl the other day who thought it was cool because she could snort any color she wanted. What an idiot.

    June 1, 2012 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
    • reply to kira

      bath salts are not literally bath salts... hahah. little girl trying to pretend she knows everything..

      June 1, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  7. YouHaveNoClue

    You have no clue what is taking off in the black community other than what you see on TV....

    June 1, 2012 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  8. Chris

    Everyone knows that the only way to kill a zombie is with a head shot. I applaud the police for not trying to taser the zombie. That would only agitate him and perhaps bite more people, slowly turning them into a zombiefied state.

    June 1, 2012 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  9. rev

    If it walks like a zombie, growls like a zombie and eats human flesh like a zombie, well then, it's probably a zombie.

    June 1, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  10. yup

    Sorry Mom....He was EATING the face of another man.....what a freak. Zombie???? No Brutal Killer.....YES Kids.....Say no to drugs.

    June 1, 2012 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  11. morgan

    This was not due to bath salts! If he was such a bible thumper I'm sure he wouldnt do drugs! Also I know people that have done bath salts a lot and I know one or two people that do it every day still they don't eat peoples faces!

    June 1, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  12. JRambo

    Ah yes , the Abuse of Psychedelics at its worse.

    June 1, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  13. ma & pa

    If this reported crime event happened, we'd somewhat agree with commenter at 10:39a.m. except that if he, or anyone else, was or is drugged out of their mind by someone they should be kept alive to identify their EVIL assailent so that FRAMER can be stopped before causing harm or death to others.

    June 1, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  14. sweet2th

    Your statement sounds ridiculous. How is someone going to instigate something with a gun and then say it was self defense. He would not have needed to use self defense had he not started anything in the first place. With your logic all the killers who killed their victims that fought back killed in self defense. Hope you're not a judge or a lawyer

    June 1, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Dangerkittie

    Bwahahahahahaha! Oh, I'm sorry, I literally LOL'd at the idea of him being a nice kid, followed with the example of, "He gave me a nice card on Mother's Day." OMG, can we put a bullet in her brain too???

    June 1, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
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