In this handout image provided by the Miami Dade Police Departmentn shows Rudy Eugene, the man who was shot dead by police as he ate the face of a homeless man during Memorial Day weekend
Photo by Miami Beach Police Department via Getty Images.
UPDATE: If you’ve seen them, they’re impossible to forget. The photographs showing Ronald Poppo’s torn-up face following the zombie-like attack by Rudy Eugene last weekend have gone viral. Now authorities are trying to figure out who shot and distributed the gruesome photographs, reports the Miami Herald. The photos were clearly taken after Poppo had received some type of medical care, so it’s highly likely a medical professional or first responder shot the photographs. That would mean the photographs, if they’re real, would amount to a big ethical violation and could even be illegal.
Miami police released tapes of three 911 calls from people who saw parts of the infamous attack and it seems no one could actually tell Eugene was tearing into his 65-year-old victim with his teeth, reports the Miami Herald. In what is likely the most ridiculous news story to come out of the attack, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for some reason found it necessary to release a statement to the Huffington Post that there was no evidence of a zombie epidemic. “CDC does not know of a virus or condition that would reanimate the dead (or one that would present zombie-like symptoms),” CDC spokesman David Daigle wrote, according to the New York Daily News.
Although there’s been mucho talk that Poppo would eventually get a face transplant, that prospect is unlikely, writes the Los Angeles Times. For now, doctors are focusing on keeping him alive, and even down the road it doesn’t seem as though he would be a strong candidate. Multiple facial reconstructions are much more likely. Still, that’s a long way off. “I think there is a perception in the media that he is going to get a face transplant next week,” a doctor said. “It doesn't work like that.”
Thursday, May 31: The victim of a gruesome, zombie-like attack on a Miami causeway will need months of treatment to recover from having most of his face ripped off. But while 65-year-old Romald Poppo will be permanently disfigured, he stands a good chance of surviving the bizarre attack.
The Associated Press reports that the facial injuries Poppo suffered are typically not life-threatening and that the possibility of infection actually poses a larger risk to his health than the gruesome wounds themselves. Police have estimated that Poppo lost 75 to 80 percent of his face during the attack, including one of his eyes, which was gouged out.
Police are still largely puzzled about the motivation behind the attack. There has been some unconfirmed speculation, however, that the attacker was under the influence of so-called "bath salts" at the time of the attack. The drugs are sold as synthetic versions of cocaine or LSD, according to CNN.
Tuesday, May 29: The naked man who was shot and killed as he was ripping off another man’s face in a gruesome attack off of a Miami causeway on Saturday has been identified as 31-year-old Rudy Eugene of North Miami Beach.
WPLG-ABC 10 reports that Eugene had a relatively minor criminal record and that the homeless who live near the causeway where the attack took place said that they often saw him walking around the area looking confused.
His ex-wife, who refused to show her face on camera, told the local TV station that she left Eugene because he was violent. (The two filed for divorce in 2007 during a particularly violent period, she said.) But Eugene’s criminal record doesn’t offer many more clues. Though he was arrested seven other times over five years, they were for relatively minor charges, such as trespassing, while four charges involved marijuana, according to Miami Herald. He had just one arrest which would have suggested violence, when he was charged with battery at age 16. That charge was later dropped, the Herald reports.
Eugene’s 65-year-old victim, a homeless man who remains unidentified, remains in critical condition, since much of his face was torn away during the attack. One police official said that 75 to 80 percent of the victim's face was missing. "We’re hoping that he pulls through, for his well-being, but also so he can tell us what happened," Sgt. Javier Ortiz, vice president of the Miami police union, told the Herald. "Only he knows."
Monday, May 28: Miami police are trying to figure out exactly why a naked man would attempt to chew off the face of another man. As if straight out of a zombie movie, police shot dead a naked man Saturday who had mauled up to 80 percent of another man’s face, according to the local NBC 6 station. “Seventy-five to 80 percent of his face was missing, and he was actually swallowing pieces of the man's face,” a law enforcement official said. Sources tell the Miami Herald the attacker also tried to gouge out his victim’s eyes.
Miami’s WSVN-Fox 7 talks to a man who was riding his bicycle when he came upon a scene he described as out of a horror movie: “And the guy was like tearing him to pieces with his mouth, so I told him, 'Get off!'” he said. “You know it's like the guy just kept eating the other guy away like ripping his skin.”
A police officer then approached and told the man to step away from the victim, “and the guy just stood his head up like that with a piece of flesh in his mouth and growled,” according to the witness. The officer then fired, but the attacker didn't stop chewing off his victim's face until he was killed, according to WSVN.
Police immediately theorized drugs could help explain what happened, saying the attacker might have suffered from “cocaine psychosis,” reports the Miami Herald. WSVN reports that police say he may have been overdosing on a “new potent form of LSD.”