MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami police are asking anyone who may have witnessed a nude man biting off pieces of another nearly naked man’s face on the MacArthur Causeway over the weekend to come forward.
An officer came across the men shortly after 2 p.m., when police responded to a 911 call about two naked men fighting on a bike path along the Causeway. The fight was taking place at the causeway exit near the Miami Herald building.
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The amazed officer tried to stop it and ordered the man making a meal out of the other man to stop. When the blood covered man refused to stop and turned toward the officers and growled, the officer shot him. The Medical Examiner has identified the man as 31-year old Rudy Eugene.
Since news of the unthinkable attack first broke, the big question has been, Why? Why did the man attack the other? Why were they naked? Why did the attacker turn into a cannibal on the causeway?
Some believe he was under the influence of heavy drugs.
The head of the Miami Fraternal Order of Police, Armando Aguilar, said cases related to the type of drugs known as “bath salts” are not new locally.
“We have seen, already, three or four cases that are exactly like this where some people have admitted taking LSD and it’s no different than cocaine psychosis,” Aguilar said.
In the cases Aguilar mentioned, he said the people have all taken their clothing off, been extremely violent with what seemed to be super-human strength, even using their jaws as weapons.
Emergency room doctors at Jackson Memorial Hospital said they too have seen a major increase in cases linked to the street drug called “bath salts” or what Aguilar described as “the new LSD.”
“We noticed an increase probably after Ultra Fest,” said emergency room Dr. Paul Adams, at Jackson Memorial Hospital.
In many of the cases, Dr. Adams said the person’s temperature has risen to an extremely high level, they’ve become very aggressive, with logic and the ability to feel pain lost in their reactions. Some have used their jaws as a weapon during attacks.
Dr. Adams said the patients were in a state of delirium.
“Extremely strong, I took care of a 150 pound individual who you would have thought he was 250 pounds,” Dr. Adams said. “It took six security officers to restrain the individual.”
Adams said the extreme strength and violence of patients on “bath salts” has become a significant threat to all those charged with the task of trying to help those high on the drug.
“It’s dangerous for the police,” Adams said. “It’s dangerous for the fire fighters. It’s dangerous for the hospital workers taking care of them because they come in, they have to be restrained both chemically and physically and you’re asking for someone to get hurt.”
Dr. Patricia Junquera, medical director of Jackson Memorial Hospital’s detox unit, said she’s never seen any case of cannibalism from the drugs, but that some form of naked psychosis with drugs is common.
“They feel they’re Superman; they have special powers,” Dr. Junquera said. “I’ve seen it with spice. I’ve seen it with bath salts. It could increase the impulsivity of any person.”
Tuesday, photos purportedly showing Poppo’s mutilated face spread through social media. The photos appear to have been taken while Poppo was under medical care.
“Anytime we find anything that is a violation of patient privacy, we definitely do an investigation,” said Jackson Health System spokesman Ed O’Dell. “However, we cannot the authenticity of these pictures. We have not violated the privacy of this patient.”
Eugene is believed to have been homeless. His last address is a home in North Miami Beach. The people who live there now didn’t know Eugene, but neighbors remember him.
“The only thing I remember was he was a quiet boy,” said Micheline Barret.
Barret said Eugene moved out several years ago, but she never forgot the boy next door.
“I was shocked because I knew him, you know in the area,” said Barret who added that she used to give him rides when he needed it.
Eugene had several run-ins with police before, mostly for drug related offenses, trespassing and resisting arrest without violence.
Ives Eugene, 55, told the Associated Press that he was Rudy Eugene’s uncle, described his nephew as a “nice and hard-working” man who washed cars at a local dealership.
In a telephone interview, Eugene said his nephew had asked his girlfriend to borrow her car, but she said no.
“So he rode the bicycle, and he never came back home,” Ives Eugene told the Associated Press.
CBS4’s Gio Benitez reached out to Rudy Eugene’s ex-wife, but she declined to speak about her ex-husband or the cannibal incident.