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Ronald Poppo, victim of Fla. 'face-eating' man Rudy Eugene, is a 65-year-old homeless man, police say

"Face-chewing" naked man sparks zombie scare Rudy Eugene came to national attention when he was caught chewing on the face of Ronald Poppo, before being shot and killed by police. The bizarre crime sparked dubious speculation that he was a zombie. However, an autopsy showed there was no human flesh in Eugene's stomach. Police initially blamed Eugene's mental state on an LSD-like drug called "bath salts." He was a good kid," Eugene's mother told CBS Miami. "He gave me a nice card on Mother's Day. Everyone says he was a zombie. He was no zombie. That was my son." CBS/Miami-Dade Police Dept.

Ronald Poppo, victim of 'Face-chewing' naked man Rudy Eugene, is a 65-year-old homeless man
Rudy Eugene (.l) and victim Ronald Poppo (.r)
CBS/Miami-Dade Police Dept.

(CBS/AP) MIAMI - Police in Florida have named 65-year-old Ronald Poppo as the homeless victim whose face was chewed and destroyed by Rudy Eugene along a busy Miami highway ramp.

Pictures: Fla. police identify "face-eating" naked man

Miami police said little Tuesday about the attack, which took place Saturday afternoon in the shadow of The Miami Herald headquarters. Surveillance video from the newspaper's security camera showed cars, motorcycles, pedestrians and bicyclists passing by.

"He had his face eaten down to his goatee. The forehead was just bone. No nose, no mouth," said Sgt. Armando Aguilar, president of the Miami Fraternal Order of Police. "In my opinion, he just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Sgt. Javier Ortiz, vice president of the Miami Fraternal Order of Police, said it was one of the bloodiest "and goriest scenes I've ever been to."

It's not clear what led Eugene, 31, to attack Poppo. CBS Miami reports that Eugene may have been under the influence of an LSD-like drug called "bath salts," according to Aguilar.

Witness Larry Vega was riding his bicycle off the causeway, which connects downtown Miami with Miami Beach, when he saw the attack.

"The guy was, like, tearing him to pieces with his mouth, so I told him, 'Get off!'" Vega told Miami television station WSVN. "The guy just kept eating the other guy away, like, ripping his skin."

Vega flagged down the Miami police officer, who can be seen exiting his car on the Herald video. Vega said the officer repeatedly ordered the attacker to get off. Eugene just picked his head up and growled at the officer before continuing to maul his victim, Vega said. The officer shot Eugene, but he just kept chewing, Vega said. The officer fired again, killing Eugene.

Detective William Moreno would not release details about the shooting, citing the ongoing investigation. The Miami-Dade County medical examiner declined to provide any information until after the autopsy, which was scheduled for Tuesday. Police have not released details from the autopsy and it could be weeks before the results of toxicology tests are available.

Officials say Poppo, who lived under the causeway, is still in critical condition.

Complete coverage of Rudy Eugene on Crimesider

  • Edecio Martinez

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