MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The tale of Rudy Eugene, the North Miami man who was shot and killed by police after he was found chewing the face off Ronald Poppo over the Memorial Day weekend, has taken another strange twist.
The two had met before.
Eugene’s friend Frederic Christian told CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald that he and Eugene, 31, had met Poppo a few years ago while doing some volunteer work to help the homeless.
Eugene attacked Poppo on the MacArthur Causeway while he was napping in the shade of the Metrorail. He chewed approximately half of Poppo’s face off before he was shot and killed by police.
While early speculation was that Eugene’s attack was fueled by some designer drug like ‘bath salts’ toxicology reports were unable to find any illicit substance in his system except marijuana. Some experts believe he may have been on a synthetic drug which was not detected during the tests.
South Miami forensic psychologist, Dr. Wade Silverman, has a straightforward opinion of what caused Eugene’s bizarre behavior.
“In common terms, obviously, the man was out of his mind,” Silverman told CBS4 News. In short, crazy.
Silverman said there may be a clue to Eugene’s psychotic break in the fact that he left his home with his bible the day of the cannibalistic attack. Some pages of the bible were torn out and strewn along the causeway, along with Eugene’s clothes. There is often a religious element to schizophrenic behavior, Silverman said.
“There are all sorts of irrational justifications that the psychotic mind uses to justify their behavior,” Silverman said, including the possibility that Eugene believed that God was telling him to do what he did.
Eugene’s mother told the paper she had difficulty finding a church to perform a funeral service for her son. Four churches refused her before a funeral home chapel agreed to hold the service.
Poppo, 65, is still recovering at Jackson Memorial Hospital where he has been described as “extremely charming” by the staff.
CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed to this report.