Miami Cannibal Attack: On May 26, 2012, Rudy Eugene attacked and maimed Ronald Poppo, a homeless man, on the MacArthur Causeway in Miami, Florida, making headlines worldwide.
During the 18-minute filmed encounter, Eugene 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 eyes.
As a result of the incident’s shocking nature and subsequent worldwide media coverage, Eugene came to be dubbed the “Miami Zombie” and the “Causeway Cannibal”. The attack ended when Eugene was fatally shot by a Miami PD officer. So severe was Eugene’s behavior that it took 4 bullets to end his monstrous act.
Although friends and family filled in details of Eugene’s life, the reason for the attack remains unclear. Eugene, 31, employed at a car wash at the time, was divorced with a series of petty criminal arrests from age 16, with the last in 2009.
While police sources speculated that the use of a street drug like “bath salts” might have been a factor, experts expressed doubt, since toxicology reports were only able to identify marijuana in Eugene’s system, leaving the ultimate cause of his behavior unknown.
Poppo, 65, a graduate of Manhattan’s Stuyvesant High School, was homeless and had long been presumed dead by his estranged family.
At the time of the attack, Poppo’s family—including his daughter—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.
Poppo has since completed treatment and was last residing in a Medicaid facility. He received nutritional and occupational therapy and took up the guitar.
Rudy Eugene (February 4, 1981 – May 26, 2012) was born at the Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Florida. 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.
As a child 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 known employment was washing cars at a local automobile dealership.
Eugene had expressed interest in establishing his own mobile car wash business.
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Eugene’s marriage, from 2005 to 2008, ended in divorce, with his wife reporting that there had been domestic violence in the relationship. The divorce was granted on January 8, 2008, and there were no children from their relationship.Eugene was estranged from his ex-wife until his death.
Eugene had been arrested eight times since he was 16, with the first arrest being for an assault in 1997.
On February 25, 2004, Eugene broke a table, smashed items around the house, and pushed his mother out of the kitchen. Afterward, his mother 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 final arrest was in September 2009.
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