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. chappy

    I think they should pass a law protecting police – no officer is expected to use a taser during zombie attacks.

    Tazer my kiester.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Sir Craig

    He was a good boy who knew his bible, huh? Well, when the xtian religion is all about worshipping a jewish zombie...when the Catholic church has ritualistic cannibalism as a weekly highlight...I can see how this would be the end result. No surprise here.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • SmartGirl

      "They could have tazed him" is completely absurd. This statement basically implies that the attacker wasn't doing anything so wrong or bad that he deserved to be shot for it. Maybe the attackers mother and girlfriend are under the influence as well. Their desperately overcompensating statements about the attackers religious beliefs sound like Tammy Faye Baker on NIteline.

      Shame on those who would insult other people's religion OR compare this to Trayvon Martin OR make this about race or religion AT ALL. Is that REALLY what you derived from this story?? I think everyone–Christians, Muslims, Jewish, Agnostic, Atheist, Black, Brown, White, etc–who just finished reading this story is sickened to their core by it.

      As if the horrible story wasn't enough, we scroll down and are all reminded (by so many ignorant comments about race or religion) that there are so many people out there who make day-to-day life just a little less livable for the rest of us and who further lessen our faith in humanity (just when we thought we couldn't feel any more disheartened than we already feel). To all those who have such deep-seated anger issues that EVERY single news story provokes a ballistic disquisition into race and religion: it would be nice if you would try to resolve these issues before you fire off your ridiculous comments. **sigh** I guess when the only tool you have is a hammer, every single problem looks like a nail, huh?

      June 4, 2012 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
  3. Shannon

    One, the thing they are calling "bath salts"..... WILL NOT CAUSE ANYONE TO DO THAT! It symbolizes a synthetic cocaine and just makes you really "awake", if you ingested too much, you will be paranoid. Other than that, nothing that serious. Except sleep depravation. He most likely just wanted the attention.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • fractal

      Actually there are quite a few cases all over the country of extreme violence related to "bath salts" notably Louisiana. Even seen an interview with someone who overdosed on them and said he remember wanting to do unspeakably violent things while on them and that he never touched them again on it. These do a lot more than just sleep deprivation and paranoia.

      June 4, 2012 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      Sharon you obviously have not read a single thing about what bath salts actually do to the human body. You just spout opinion like its fact, and unfortunately for you, your opinion is dead wrong.

      June 7, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Mandi

      people all react very differently to different drugs, chemicals, foods, toxins, etc. You have no clue how the 'bath salts' would affect him or anyone else. Only yourself. Don't be so close minded and know it all. It makes much more sense he was on a drug rather than he is a zombie, duh!

      June 7, 2012 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
  4. lauren

    Reports say he kept chewing after police fired shots to the chest. Is required watching of Zombieland not part of cop training these days??? Jeez. DOUBLETAP!

    June 2, 2012 at 1:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Greg

      lmao love the double tap comment

      June 7, 2012 at 5:03 am | Report abuse |
  5. thats messed up

    we all no its not the drugs its the government a military experiment gone bad. Religion has nothing to do with this attack. the toxins from the mind bending drug messed up his head scrambled his brain made him no-longer a human. he is no longer that person. he is a beast when the mind gets mushed it becomes nothing that person is gone and the beast takes over we all no today we have the technology to warp an average human into a mindless flesh eater. Its no longer just a hollywood horror flik it is reality. we can do anything. if this wasnt a secret society weapon test. it will be. the military will probably try to figure this out to use in war to make countrys turn on eachother destroy themselvs. eventualy this could lead to backlashing into our backyard. my word for everyone grab a sword. a gun needs ammo what happens when u run out. a bat can break. grab a sword. train. and prepare yourself for the possible future.

    June 2, 2012 at 1:17 am | Report abuse |
  6. Mr green alien

    Under the influence of vampire or lycan drugs

    June 2, 2012 at 2:10 am | Report abuse |
  7. doc

    Guy's EATING another human being, naked, and growling? I'd say the cop who shot him did the right thing – you really want this character tried, jailed, released and running around loose? Righteous shoot, as far as I'm concerned....

    June 2, 2012 at 8:40 am | Report abuse |
  8. Cole

    I'm reading a lot of comments about how the officer should have tased him. Bad idea.
    1. If what the folks at the hospital in Miami are saying is true, people intoxicated on this new drug become super human like. Their temperature rises and adrenaline increases to an impressive max. A taser would not have done much.
    2. Electricity passes through out the body if the body comes in contact with electricity meaning the homeless victim on the ground would have been electrictuted as well.

    The officer did the right thing.

    June 2, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mia

    the police had the right to shoot that man down. if he did ingest too many of those bath salts, he definitley would be not in his mind. no offence to his mother, but if that was my son, i would WANT him to be shot down because he made his grave when he even took a bath salt. this drug turning him into a zombie? that's not something to joke about. this is scary stuff and it could be happening in YOUR own neighborhood. now im even scared to walk down the street because i dont want my face eaten off. poor man.

    June 2, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  10. palebunny

    A BULLET DIDN'T SUBDUE HIM, BUT SHE THINKS A TASER WOULD HAVE? The man was steadily chewing STRIPS off the guys FACE, and the cop warned him more than I think he should have and said the man looked right at him and growled, then continued to chomp. So the officer shot him ONCE in a non life threatening way and he STILL KEPT DOING exactly the same. NO WAY IN HELL a taser could have stopped him.

    If this man was on bath salts like they say, this stuff is just like PCP, the people get very hot & remove their clothing and also show incredible strength much more than they should have. One officer said it took 6 cops to subdue a 150 pound man on this stuff.

    I'm GLAD he's dead, and I want to know to all these people complaining about the cop shooting him WHAT ABOUT THE VICTIM you worthless nut jobs? He has NO SKIN OR MUSCLE virtually on his face from the beard up – his NOSE is gone HIS EYEBALLS are gone, HIS FOREHEAD IS JUST EXPOSED BONE.

    ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Damn zombie man straight to hell, shoot him 100 times.

    June 2, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Sad

    I'm saddened by so many comments, no matter who was in the wrong. Please, stop making light of such an awful situation .... 🙁 My thoughts and prayers are with the family of the man who died, the police, and the victim.

    June 3, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ben

      I am sad that you feel the need to criticize those condeming this animal. I feel terrible for the victim. I feel bad for the animal's mother. The animal got what he deserved in this life and will get what he deserved in the next. No one lives in a glass house when it comes to what he did.

      June 7, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Purple D

    This is a shocking moment in our modern world. I have no advise to the mother nor the officers who risk losing all sanity to this case, nothing anyone says will make a difference and nothing we do will change what happened. Personally i believe that this case was meant to happen, As, hopefully, a demonstration of where we are, and what is among us. I assume that man woke up, believing that he was living in a sane, and inhospitable world. But people this is far from the truth, I also assume that that young man, read the bible that morning, and said a prayer, believing that he was God's humble lamb and his path would always be lit..What happened between that morning and The attack is uncertain but Godbless the intelligence we can profit from in this awful innocent prayers, to the family of both men.

    June 3, 2012 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
  13. ross_kramerov

    I think the police officer who shoot the zombie eating other man alive did a favor not only to the judicial system's employees but also to the humankind. Thank you, officer.

    June 4, 2012 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ben

    Dear Police,

    Should you come across someone eating my face and stripping me naked. Please shoot him.


    PS. Should you come across ME eating someone elses face... please shoot me.

    June 5, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jim Weix

    The gene pool got just a bit better when the police shot and killed him. Now he can't spread his genes anymore.

    June 7, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
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