A surveillance video has surfaced of Rudy Eugene (pictured left), who Miami police shot to death on May 26, after they discovered him gnawing on the face of 65-year-old Ronald Poppo (pictured right). Poppo was homeless for nearly four decades before the attack, reports the U.K.’s Daily Mail.
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The 18-minute video depicts Eugene, who was naked and had taken his clothing off on the causeway, straddling, punching, and then ripping off Poppo’s clothing as he slept on some train tracks. Afterward, the “Miami Zombie” — as he is now being called — began feasting on Poppo’s face. Police investigators state that the attack was totally unprovoked.
When officers yelled at Eugene to stop his assault and he ignored their cries, they shot him dead in a hail of bullets.
Watch the surveillance video here:
Who Was Rudy Eugene?
Eugene was a former North Miami High School football player. He allegedly enjoyed smoking marijuana and planned on starting his own mobile car wash business. Friends describe Eugene as a friendly lover of music, especially rap, and very normal. About five years ago, the young man’s luck went south, and he ended up divorced from his wife, Jenny Ductant, and arrested a few times. Eugene was said to have always worked and owned a car.
“He was always looking for ways to make money. Not necessarily illegal, but sometimes he got in trouble with it,” lifelong friend, Daniel Ruiz told the Miami Herald. “But for Rudy to do something that graphic, that aggressive, that violent, that gruesome — that’s what’s really troubling us. Rudy? Really? Rudy? Naw.”
Yet on Saturday, the demeanor of the affable son of Haitian immigrants changed dramatically.
Eugene’s close friend and former roommate Erica Smith told the Miami Herald, ” Someone must have given him something really bad. A few days ago he told my brother that he was really depressed and didn’t want to live anymore. He was a guy who just wanted a family and someone to love him.”
Was Eugene High On Bath Salts?
As police try to piece the gruesome puzzle together, it is believed that Eugene was under the influence of a potent LSD-type designer drug called “bath salts,” but they won’t know for sure until his toxicology report is complete.
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When users ingest the drug, their body temperature is taken to dangerous levels that causes them to rip off their clothing and to become violently irrational. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), bath salt users have reported impaired perception, reduced motor control, disorientation, extreme paranoia, and violent episodes. Agitation, paranoia, hallucinations, chest pain, and suicidality are additional effects of the drug also known as “Ivory Wave” and “Bolivian Bath.”
The stimulant also raises blood pressure and increases pulse rate. The long-term physical and psychological effects of use are unknown but potentially severe. The drug, which has nothing to do with the bath salts that we use for bathing, have become increasingly popular, particularly among teens and young adults, and are sold at a variety of retail outlets, in head shops, and over the Internet.
Citing an “imminent threat to public safety,” the DEA has made the possession and sale of three of the chemicals commonly used to make bath salts — the synthetic stimulants mephedrone, MDPV, and methylone — illegal. The ban, issued in October 2011, is effective for at least a year. During that time, the agency will decide whether a permanent ban is warranted.
It’s Not a Wrap Yet
In the meantime, according to published reports, Poppo had his face eaten down to his goatee, the forehead was just bone, and he has no nose or mouth.
The mild-mannered homeless man who “resembled singer Kenny Rogers and who never bothered anyone” is struggling to survive and is in critical condition at Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center.
The police investigation on the Eugene/Poppo case continues.