The man who was shot and killed by a Miami police officer who found him gnawing on the face of a homeless man has been described by friends as funny and friendly, with a particularly radiant smile, says a report in the Miami Herald.
“Rudy was not a face-eating zombie monster,” his high school friend Victoria Forte told the newspaper. “The Rudy we know was a nice gentleman with a warm smile, and funny.”
Rudy Eugene’s victim has been named as 65-year-old Ronald Poppo who, records show, had been homeless for decades. According to the report, Poppo is still in critical condition after his nose, mouth and eyes were chewed off by Eugene.
The paper said surveillance footage seemed to show that Eugene, aged 31, who had been walking naked along the McArthur Causeway “stumbled upon Poppo by sheer happenstance” before pouncing on the homeless man who was dozing in the shade of elevated train tracks on Saturday afternoon. The attack, during which Eugene punched Poppo and stripped off his pants, lasted for about 18 minutes.
The paper reported that Eugene was in Miami to party over Memorial Day weekend. Before the attack, he had been with his girlfriend who told police that he had been acting strangely before leaving in his car.
“He had his ups and downs, but he was not an aggressive person. He was really sweet and giving,” Erica Smith, a close friend and former roommate of Eugene’s told the paper
.Smith said Eugene was down on his luck with a string of arrests and a broken marriage, but recently was getting his life back together.
“He did smoke [marijuana], I’m not going to lie about that,” Smith said. “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.”
A Miami police union official speculated that he must have been high on LSD or some other drug that causes psychosis as the body overheats