Rudy Eugene – Miami Cannibal Attack
The ‘Miami Cannibal Attack’ occurred on May 26, 2012, when Rudy Eugene assaulted Ronald Poppo on the MacArthur Causeway in Miami, Florida. During the 18-minute filmed encounter, Rudy Eugene (who was himself stripped nude) accused Poppo of stealing his Bible, beat him unconscious, removed Poppo’s pants, and bit off most of Poppo’s face above the beard, including his left eye, leaving him blind in both.
As a result of the incident’s shocking nature, and subsequent worldwide media coverage, Rudy Eugene came to be dubbed the “Miami Zombie” as well as the “Causeway Cannibal.” The attack ended when Eugene was fatally shot by a Miami police officer.
Although friends and family have filled in details of Eugene’s life, the reason for the attack remains unclear. Rudy Eugene, 31, employed at a car wash at the time, was a divorced, former high school football player with a series of petty criminal arrests from age 16 until most recently in 2009.
Poppo, 65, a graduate of Manhattan’s Stuyvesant High School, was homeless and had long been presumed dead by his estranged family.
While police sources speculated that the use of a street drug like “bath salts” might have been a factor, and experts have expressed doubt as to their definitiveness, toxicology reports were only able to identify marijuana in Rudy’s system. Therefore, the ultimate cause of Rudy Eugene’s bizarre behavior remains unknown.
Rudy Eugene Abandoned His Car and His Clothes
The morning of May 26, 2012, Rudy Eugene drove to Miami Beach, toward ‘Urban Beach Week.’ His flag-draped, purple Chevrolet Caprice broke down. After spending 30–40 minutes, filmed on security video, in and around his car, according to eyewitnesses, Rudy abandoned the vehicle around noon. He began to walk across the three-mile long span of the MacArthur Causeway,oddly enough, stripping himself of his clothing and disposing of his driver’s license as he advanced westward.
Rudy Eugene’s vehicle was eventually discovered and towed by Miami Beach police. Inside the car, police discovered a bible and five empty water bottles, which they believe were recently consumed.
Rudy Eugene Attacks Ronald Poppo
Rudy, now completely naked, having discarded even his shoes and lastly his Bible at the crime scene, encountered Ronald Poppo at approximately 1:55 pm. Poppo had been lying underneath an elevated Metromover railway when Rudy Eugene began to pummel him after a very brief one sided conversation. Eugene wrestled with the man, to finally strip him of his pants, and began biting violently at his face.The attack unfolded at the west end of the MacArthur Causeway, near the headquarters of The Miami Herald in the Omni neighborhood of Downtown Miami. A passing cyclist, Larry Vega, came upon the brutal scene and immediately alerted authorities via 9-1-1.
The Police Arrive
A few minutes later, Miami Police Department officer Jose Ramirez arrived and, after doing a double take at the horrifying spectacle, warned Rudy Eugene to desist from attacking Poppo. Eugene ignored the officer’s warnings and, instead, reportedly growled viciously at him, then resumed biting away hunks of flesh from his victim.
The attack ended at 2:13 PM with Officer Ramirez shooting Rudy Eugene once at first and then another four times when that proved ineffective. The ordeal had been captured by a security camera on The Miami Herald building. The surveillance video shows that the attack continued for 18 minutes before help arrived.
His Face and Eyes Were Gone
Ronald Poppo, age 65, was admitted into Jackson Memorial Hospital, critically injured, with 75–80% of his face above the beard missing and his left eye gouged out in the attack.
He underwent facial reconstruction surgeries that took months to complete and remained permanently disfigured and blind. To combat the costs, a fund was set up and has collected $100,700 since July 17, 2012.
Poppo, who lost sight in both his eyes, spoke to police, whom he thanked for saving his life, on July 19, explaining that Rudy Eugene, whom he hardly knew, approached him in a friendly manner but then, complaining he couldn’t “score” at the beach and “souped up on something”, started talking about how they were going to die, accused Poppo of stealing his bible, and, suddenly and without provocation, attacked and strangled him with wrestling holds, and then “plucked out” both his eyes.
Although the autopsy revealed no human flesh in Eugene’s stomach, a number of undigested pills were discovered that have not yet been identified. Although police sources had speculated that the street drug “bath salts” might have been involved, preliminary toxicology reports were positive only for the presence of marijuana.
Authorities have not necessarily found the negative results conclusive. Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti has expressed a belief that some new drug not yet tested for played a role. Nationally noted toxicologist Barry Logan said Eugene’s behavior was consistent with “bath salts” and that toxicologists “are not testing for everything that may be out there” and the director of toxicology at the University of Florida, Dr. Bruce Goldberger, said, “We are not incompetent…We have the tools, we have the sophistication and know-how. But the field is evolving so rapidly it is hard for us to keep track. It’s almost as if it is a race we can never win.”
Who was Rudy Eugene
Rudy Eugene was born on February 4, 1981 at the Jackson Memorial Hospital. He was of Haitian descent through his immigrant parents who divorced months after his birth. Eugene never made contact with his father, who died when he was six. He attended the Bethel Evangelical Baptist Church with his families on most Sundays. Eugene attended North Miami Beach High School in the 10th and 11th grades, and he played on its football team in the late 1990s.
At the age of 17, he transferred to North Miami High School. After graduating, Eugene acquired money from such sources as selling CDs and jobs at McDonald’s and in telemarketing. His last recorded employment was washing cars at a local automobile dealership. Eugene had expressed interest in establishing his own mobile car wash business.
Eugene’s marriage to Jenny Ductant, from 2005 to 2008, ended in divorce, with Ductant reporting that there had been domestic violence in the relationship. The divorce was granted on January 8, 2008. They had no children from their relationship. Rudy Eugene then became estranged from Ductant until his death. Between his divorce proceedings, he met Rikkia Cross in 2007, with whom he remained until his death.
Eugene was arrested eight times from the age of 16, with the first arrest being for an assault in 1997. Another assault occurred on February 25, 2004, when Eugene broke a table, smashed items around the house, and pushed his mother out of the kitchen. Afterward, Eugene’s mother Ruth told officers that he had said, “I’ll put a gun to your head and kill you.” This crime led to his serving probation for resisting an officer without violence. The remaining charges were mainly related to marijuana, which he had expressed a desire to quit. His last arrest was in September 2009.
Who Was The Victim – Poppo
Ronald Edward Poppo was born on May 17, 1947. He grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and after achieving an IQ score of 129, attended Manhattan’s prestigious Stuyvesant High School where he was a member of the Latin Club and worked in the guidance office. A former classmate reported that, after high school, Poppo enrolled at nearby City College but he dropped out in late 1966. Poppo would become homeless in early 1976.
On May 24, 2012, two days before the attack, workers from the Miami Homeless Assistance Program discovered him and offered him the services of the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust. Poppo declined assistance, however.
At the time of the attack, Poppo’s family, including a daughter named Janice Poppo DiBello (born 1968) had not heard from him in over 30 years. During that time, they assumed that Poppo was dead and suspected that he had killed himself. They were shocked to learn he was still alive at the time of the incident.
credit – murderpedia