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. Rochelle

    Sorry lady – once your son is eating another mans' face... it it perfectly ok for the police to shoot him to stop him.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Berman

    Everyone knows you can't subdue zombies with a taser...duh

    May 31, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Justin

    wooow ignorant much? i bet you do drugs.

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

      Read the papers today a student from Maryland dismembered a man who has been missing since last Friday. Police found he had eaten his heart and brain. Seems as though the black population is having a recessive gene breakdown.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  4. twirtzy

    I don't think he was a zombie either. I think he was just some crazed lunatic on drugs that was seconds away from killing somebody. He was shot and killed, as he should have been.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Dantheman

    Bath Salts. It only takes once. Once and done!

    May 31, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  6. CountDollarz

    I have a feeling this incident is linked to a smoking barrel of unknown toxins that washed up on a nearby beach in Ft. Lauderdale just a couple weeks ago... students in a nearby school also were affected.. and the school was evac.. do the research, the incidents are very likely linked.........

    May 31, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Patrick Dunn

    Did they not realize that when the first shot was fire Mr. Zombie didn't even react to it? The police shot to disable... it did nothing so in order to save another man's life he shot a few more times.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Dantheman

    The bath salts really cleaned up that guys complexion, wow!

    May 31, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Areacode612

    Who eats someone's face?

    May 31, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  10. cw camp

    Why do they sat bath salts caused it before toxicology has been screened? This is wrong, they should not say it's bath salts until the tests are done. That's inventing news instead of reporting it.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Umm

    Sorry but...eating the face off another person gets you shot...period.

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

      You're damn right is does. "You didn't need to shoot my son"... He didn't need to be chewing off a mans face. Kudos to the cop who double tapped him. Textbook zombie protocol.

      May 31, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dantheman

    This is why we should just legalize a less harmfull substance; i.e. Marijuana. The only drug you can't OD on.

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

      yeah, I'm sure he woke up that morning and said, "If only i could obtain some weed; then i could smoke that instead of doing a bunch of this new designer hallucinogen that just happens to be in my pocket. Oh, well...I guess I'll go with what I got. What's the worse that could happen."

      Think about it...really.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Colin Morgan

    Possibly the only thing more utterly insane than the idea of the zombie cannibal attack is someone saying he should have been tased instead. HE WAS EATING A MAN'S FACE OFF LADY. JFC....

    May 31, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Blackbird1313

      I agree. Chances are the taser would not have had any effect on him if he was that high. The guy was eating a man's face!! The cops were totally justified in shooting him!

      May 31, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  14. works4me

    This is a far too often typical response of many of today's parents. "Not my Johnny" There are way too many not being responsible for their behavior. It's so much easier to blame others, or the system, or the methods, etc. The easy way out!

    I can say this... If I was that cop I would have emptied mu clip on him the moment he game up growling with foamy blood dripping from his mouth, especially after being shot once.

    May 31, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  15. L2k4FC

    I feel for his mother. No disrespect intended to her but if I'm ever caught eating somebody's face off then I don't even want a warning. Just shoot me and save the poor sap I was eating.

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