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. 900rr

    "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,”
    Yup lots of god lovers torture others,molest children,kill and now we need to add chewing faces...

    May 31, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jamal

    They just shot him cause he black.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • mike k.

      Yea I saw a naked white guy chewing this dude's face off last week and when the cops showed up they just gave him one of those blankets they got and then a popsicle.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      I think you're right. After all, zombie-like face eating is legal in that part of Florida.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  3. pdidiness

    "Everywhere he went his Bible went. When he left he had his Bible in his hand" so tell me where the naked guy put his bible while chewing on the homeless dude's face? which brings up a good point, what would zombie jesus do?

    May 31, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  4. flat

    btw, was he homeless or not? initial reports were they were both homeless. if he was homeless how the hell can a girlfriend or mother not have asked him to come to their home to live? this is bizarre. and of course he isnt like that normally, do you think a guy that hits and kills a family on a DUI is normally that impaired? im sure he was a nice guy, but so is the guy on pcp that walked around with a severed human head in his hands.. its called drugs lady..

    May 31, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  5. david

    He deserved what he got.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. commonsense2

    Its funny how every time a black person is accused of a violent and crazy crime the mother always comes out and says its not in my childs nature to do this type of thing even thought they have a long history of violence. Also I never hear a white person say they should not have shot my child while they were doing a violent crime, they should have stopped only because its my child. Give me a break, the guy just didnt find these "bath salts" and start doing drugs and strange things the other day, I am positive he has a history of abusing drugs

    May 31, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  7. John

    Sorry, but I couldn't disagree more. One less monster that the United States has to feed and provide shelter for at the expense of tax payer's expense. I say "Thank You" to the police department in handling the situation properly.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anon E Moose

      EXCUSE ME ??!

      Monsters have feelings too, ya know. And why all this all-too-blatant hatred and bigotry towards your fellow undead-Americans ??

      To paraphrase that great speech of the Rev Martin Luther King:

      "I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of zombiehood."

      May 31, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  8. DZ

    I don't know if there is a video displaying the actual attack (and not just the aftermath), but due to the close proximity of the two bodies, I'm going to assume that at the time the officer shot Rudy, Rudy's hand or body may have still been touching Ronald. If there was any connection between Rudy and Ronald (via hand, arm, torso, etc.), a taser would have shocked them both.

    Better to just use the gun to eliminate one person than a taser that'll shock the victim as well.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Bogoman

    Coke and LSD does't do this to you. PCP does this too you are you kidding me

    May 31, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael J.

      Suffice it so say, you know nothing.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • SMV

      If you can read, you will see it isn't LSD nor coke, it is a methamphetamine-like drug with the street name "bath salts."

      May 31, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • SMV

      If you read at all, every bit of coverage regarding this case has stated that the aggressor was using "bath salts," a methamphetamine-like drug.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Brenda

    I love the comments from people blaming the Bible like it's a joke. This guy was a drug user and was derangd and practically killed another man. Get a life.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steven

      How do we know that this guy wasn't demon possessed?

      May 31, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • politicalwindbag

      The -majority- of criminals in prison -are- deranged, drug using, god fearing christians. So what's your point? You comment that the bible has nothing to do with it needs closer scrutiny and a more critical examination to see if there is a causal relationship between drugs, faith and insanity.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  11. TJN

    I read an article that said he was charged with beating up his mom and threating to kill her at one time. So , has he been under the influence of some kind of drug or mental illness for a long time. I think the police man acted in the best way he could have , to handle that situation. Especially if he shot him one time and the guy growled at him. I have seen people under the influence of bath salts and it does cause extreme paranoia, hallucinations and delusions , who knows what he thought that man was that he was attacking or even what he was. Such a sad tragedy and so many happening these days.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  12. JesusIsNotReal

    This idea that people who read the BIBLE are morally superior to those who don't or those who don't believe in GOD needs to be exposed as the most idiotic belief ever. Look at statistics, most jails are filled with Christians yet hard to find atheists in them. Additionally BIBLE actually teaches some crazy immoral acts. Go read the old testament and tell me how superior those GOD GIVEN laws were.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • judy

      The bible doesn't teach you to chew somebody's face off, the bible is about loving your fellow mankind, christians sin too, but we have a loving father that will forgive us if we ask, an atheist has nobody, but every knee shall bow one day and profess Jesus Christ as Lord

      May 31, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • commonsense2

      Your name says it all. The GOD given laws in the old testament were not crazy laws, the laws made up by man as they interpreted GOD's will were the messed up laws. And no says the people who read the Bible are morally superior, if someone reads the Bible if they TRULEY believe and not these fools in the news then it does change your life for the better. Too many people like you lump all Christians into the same group. By your theory all blacks are the same, all hispanics, Catholics, Mormons, Baptists, and even Atheists like you are exactly the same because they all believe in the same things and beileve the same way. Please don't speak on things you know nothing about and have zero facts only hate about.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Joe Smith

    Gearing up for a lawsuit. Taze him – what would that have done?

    May 31, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      it would have allowed him to finish eating. I agree, it is someone trying to come up with some crazy lawsuit.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Christina

    The mother is ludicrous to think that shooting this individual was not called for. This poor gentleman if he makes it will endure many surgeries and so much pain due to 75% of his face being ripped apart. Here is my thought, and its just a thought. STOP USING DRUGS!! Nice or not they do make people do crazy stuff. People always come out of the woodwork to say they were such a nice guy/girl, but when you do stupid things, consequences happen.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Christopher Wood

    They could have tased him? Try telling that to the man whose FACE he ate off? Try telling that to the victim's parents (if they're still living)?

    May 31, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
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