More than likely, Rudy Eugene was on a
bad acid trip, according to Miami police union chief Armando Aguilar. Eugene's the
MacArthur Causeway near the Miami Herald headquarters Saturday
afternoon. A Miami police officer shot and killed Eugene when he did not obey commands to stop feasting on his victim. The grisly incident generated
international headlines and a world of snickering about a burgeoning zombie
Apocalypse in Miami.
president for the Fraternal Order of Police, tells Banana Republican that Eugene exhibited signs he
was high on LSD, as well as symptoms for "excited delirium," a
controversial syndrome that supposedly turns drug users (primarily
cocaine enthusiasts) into raging and almost unstoppable incredible
Hulks. "I'm going by similarities in other cases of excited
delirium I've researched in the last couple of days," Aguilar says.
Update: Police have now identified the victim in the gruesome attack as 65-year-old Ronald Poppo (More info on Poppo here); Riptide also tracked down a yearbook photo of Eugene from his days at North Miami Beach High. Click through for the photo.
Two years ago, Miami New Times staff writer Gus Garcia-Roberts explored how Miami-Dade County led the nation in deaths attributed to excited delirium, which has been dismissed as junk science by the American Civil Liberties Union and families of the deceased who were diagnosed with the syndrome. It is not listed in textbooks or recognized by the American Medical Association or the American Psychiatric Association.
First diagnosed in Miami in the 1980s, excited delirium's symptoms include high body temperature, agitation, paranoia, aggression, great strength, numbness to pain, and, in some cases, sudden death. Aguilar has been telling local media outlets that Eugene may have overdosed on LSD, citing four previous instances in Miami-Dade when people ingested too much acid, removed their clothes, and became violent.
The most recent case occurred during Ultra Music Festival this past March, Aguilar says. Evan Oberfelder, a 23-year-old Texas resident, was naked near the 1800 block of North Bayshore Drive when he was hit by a taxi. When the cabbie fled the scene, a bystander attempted to help a bleeding Oberfelder, who kicked the good Samaritan in the groin for calling the cops. It took 11 officers to subdue the young man, who jumped on top of police cars, threatened and attacked the cops - even taking the baton from a female officer and hitting her with it. Oberfelder was charged with felony battery, aggravated battery on a police officer, resisting arrest with violence, criminal mischief, and false imprisonment.
In another incident in West Miami, Aguilar says police had to subdue a man who was trying to bite his neighbors and who had punched the exterior walls of his house so hard that his knuckles were stripped to the bone.
"Both guys admitted to taking LSD," Aguilar says. "Because of the similarities in those and two other cases, it is my assumption that" Eugene was tripping. Aguilar notes that Eugene continued munching on his victim despite being shot several times by a still unidentified police officer. "He felt no pain," Aguilar says.
The Miami Herald reported that a Jackson Memorial Hospital emergency room doctor theorized Eugene's gruesome behavior may have been induced by bath salts, a methamphetamine-like drug that resembles the bathroom product it is nicknamed after. No theory is conclusive until Eugene's autopsy report is released by the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner.
In the meantime, details about Eugene are slowly trickling in. In an interview with WPLG 10, Eugene's ex-wife says she divorced him after a year-and-a-half of marriage because he was violent with her. The station was the first to report Eugene's identity. Between 2004 and 2009, he was arrested seven times on mostly misdemeanor charges including one for battery and four for pot possession. He had no arrests in the past three years.
Aguilar, a veteran homicide detective who has appeared on the First 48 cop reality show, says the injuries sustained by Eugene's victim were "the nastiest thing I have ever seen in my life." The Twitterverse is already circulating alleged photos of the victim, one of which was supposedly taken in the emergency room. That unauthenticated image shows a man with half his face missing, including two gaping holes where his nose used to be. (Update: Gawker has posted some high-res images the allegedly show the victim's face. Be warned: Click through only if you want to see a truly horrific photo.)
Update 2: Police say Eugene's victim was 65-year-old Ronald Poppo, the Miami Herald reports. Poppo remains in extremely critical condition at Ryder Trauma Center.
Riptide has also tracked down a North Miami Beach High School yearbook from 1999, when Eugene attended the school as a junior. He's only featured in one photo in the yearbook. Here he is:
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The other photo (shown on the next page), was allegedly taken at the crime scene, which Banana Republican obtained from a follower's Twitter feed. We've asked Miami police to confirm its authenticity, but haven't heard back yet; the photo matches details seen in other police photos of the crime, though. It's extremely not safe for work, so click through at your own discretion:
More on Rudy Eugene, AKA the Miami Zombie:
- Miami Zombie Witness Called Police 17 Minutes Before Cops Shot And Killed Rudy Eugene
- Rudy Eugene to Mother In 2004: "I'll Put a Gun to Your Head and Kill You"
- Causeway Cannibal Rudy Eugene Has North Miami Beach In "State of Shock"
- Ronald Poppo, Face-Eating Victim, Had Been Shot in Bayfront Park Back in 1976
- Naked Man Shot by Miami Police After Eating Other Man's Face