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. Dangerkittie

    Oh, and God save me from that byotch he lived with painting him as a Christian. He has about as much credibility as a Christian as David Koresh did.

    June 1, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  2. ma & pa

    If a word label is made up and talked bad about, people will begin to believe it exists. Put that label on anyone and that person is smeared while doing nothing deserving of it. Be careful to not label...rather describe. Please. That makes fact easier to find.

    June 1, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jackie

    I can certainly understand the grief of the mother losing her son; that is natural and I'm sorry for her loss. But to say this man should have been subdued by a taser is stretching. The reality is he was gruesomly and violently attacking an innocent man. If it was your son that had been the victim, you might feel differently. This is one of the most hideous crimes I have ever heard of and to allude that the police did something wrong in stopping it is just not right.

    June 1, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sheep

    cant you guys see that he was just hungry? and dont you understand that tayvon had a right to start beating zimmermans skull in because he was following him....(NOT ILLEGAL REGARDLESS IF COPS STAY WAIT IN CAR WHAT LAW IS THAT?) The guy that was eating his face is a christian hello that means he can not do anywrong and he must have been under control of some demonly spirit. His civil right were clearly abused while he was just practicing his right to be a human. ( btw if you dont understand this post look at my name....): It doesnt matter how good you are or how good you were before you commit a crime because once you commit it your a criminal. im sorry but i think that if i saw someone eating someone and told them to "STOP!" and they looked up and growled and went back to eating some liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti. i would not only have shooted him but i know from watching zombie movies that i would of shot him in the head.... ZOMBIES is not a farfetched idea its been theorized time and time again and actually considered to be "possible" next time someone is eating another human maybe we should keep them alive long enough to devour/infect more of us.

    June 1, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • gene kemp

      what does Teyvon martin have to do with this????????? this case is obviously drug related, much like the reports of people flipping out on airplanes. do you think the Manson crew would have done what they did had it not been for the drugs they were using. he may very well have been a nice kid we don't know, what we do know is if in fact it was "bath salts" then we have a huge problem ahead of us. i guess "huffing" wasn't enough of a high. amazing what people will put in their bodies to get high

      June 1, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Danny Martin Rosabal

    here is a vurse in the bible And the LORD will send a plague on all the nations that fought against Jerusalem. Their people will become like walking corpses, their flesh rotting away. Their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths.

    that means zombies will come bath saults dont do that for the fact thier is mabe more of them in other places other then miami florida and yes i take zombies very serious

    June 1, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • gene kemp

      Danny in order for him to be a Zombie HE HAS TO BE DEAD !ST, good lord man think before you make comments, now if in fact he comes back walking around, then you may be on to something

      June 1, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Alan

    of course she will say your child was no zombie. They are not zombies all the time.. what the hell!!!! they turn INTO zombies haha

    June 1, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  7. weekendtripper

    Who is his mother kidding? Really?? "...good kid..." followed by "...gave me a nice card for Mother's Day". (as one reader posted). Honestly, I do not subduing him via taser would really be effective especially if he was high on bath salts, as the article indicated.

    “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.

    Ugh....gimme a break with the choir boy, bible quoting schtick. If he really loved God, ... I won't go there. No disprespect for religion but what the hell is WRONG with people? I think just threw up a little in my mouf.

    June 1, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  8. cmonson

    really they could have "tased" him he was eating a human beings face off who by the way was still alive. there was another incident in miami where the guy got hit by a cab growled at police at beat an officer with her own baton while being tased and he wasnt eating anyones face. Only mistake here was that he didnt get 2 shots to the head. double tap is a must when dealing with zombies

    June 1, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  9. average american

    because if a strange man was following you around, you wouldn't defend yourself? oh... that seems logical in a world where people are reported missing every single day... you people are so backwards..
    and this zombie crap... is weird. why was he on bath salts? that's gross.

    June 1, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mike

    All I have to say is wow! His gf says "He loved God he loved the bible..." Where the heck in the bible does it say you can eat somebody's face off?! His mom says he is a nice kid, please, I have seen some horrible, horrible kids out there and they don't chew on people's faces. Has anyone seen the movie, Crazies? Maybe it's that.

    June 1, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Solitaire

    Did she apologize to the man whose face her son chewed off? If she has not, then I declare that she is also a zombie.

    June 1, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  12. GTD

    He's a "good kid" who gives his Mother nice Mother's Day cards and eats the face off a human being.

    I guess there is a new definition of 'good'.

    June 1, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Wolfgang

    I would have emptied the magazine out in its head... no more happy meal for you SOB....

    June 1, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Repstyle

    They should have tossed him a ziploc baggie so he could save face.

    June 1, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Carnage63

    Since he was naked and snarling like an animal it sounds more like a werewolf than a zombie. I guess "The Walking Dead" has zombies on everyone's mind. How cound he use taser when he was touching the victim? The shock from a taser would have passed through both of them and could have killed the victim in the condition he was in.

    June 1, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Flatsguide

      The Walking Dead now has an episode from Miami. Drive a stake thru his heart just to make sure!

      June 1, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • fractal

      I was wondering if anybody else had pointed that out... can't taze someone touching the victim especially when they are severely injured already.

      June 4, 2012 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
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