Ronald Poppo was blunt about the horrific Memorial Day weekend attack by Rudy Eugene that left him blind and disfigured.
"He attacked me," Poppo said. "He just ripped me to ribbons. He chewed up my face. He plucked out my eyes. Basically, that's all there is to say about it."
That recollection came from a 15-minute audio interview that Poppo did with Miami homicide detectives on July 19, nearly two months after Eugene's face-biting attack on the MacArthur Causeway. Eugene was killed by police, and Poppo, left with severe facial injuries, has been recuperating in the hospital since then. Wednesday night, CBS 4, which had obtained a copy of the interview earlier in the week, aired portions of it on their 6 p.m. broadcast and online. It's the first time the public has heard his side of the incident.
"He mashed my face into the sidewalk," Poppo told detectives. "My face is all bent and mashed up. My eyes, my eyes got plucked out. He was strangling me in wrestling holds at the same time he was plucking my eyes out."
The attack, which took place on May 26, came out of nowhere, according to Poppo. He said that Eugene had come from Miami Beach, apparently upset that he hadn't been able to "score." Naked and talking crazily to himself, Eugene approached Poppo, telling him that he was going to die.
"'You, me, buddy, and nobody else here,'" Poppo recalled Eugene saying. "'I'm gonna ... I'm gonna kill you.'"
Poppo also told detectives that he had never met Eugene prior to the attack, and that he had said or done nothing to provoke his anger. "I certainly didn't curse at the guy or say anything mean or nasty to him," he said.
Numerous media outlets and authorities speculated that Eugene had been under the influence of drugs, rumored to be bath salts or LSD, when he attacked Poppo. Though Poppo had no idea why Eugene attacked him, he did say, "He must have been souped on something." Toxicology screens on Eugene turned up only marijuana in his system.
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Despite his injuries, Poppo was grateful to the Miami Police Department for saving his life.
"If they didn't get there in the nick of time, I would've definitely been in worse shape," Poppo said. "Possibly I'll be DOA."