According to members of North Miami Beach High School of 2009, Rudy Eugene was the kind of friend you called to help you move or to cheer you up when things weren't going well. The former North Miami Beach High football player "was not a face-eating zombie monster", said classmate Victoria Forte.
Unfortunately for his friends, Eugene has been positively identified as the man on the MacArthur Causeway who went on a crazed rampage Saturday. Eugene was killed from several blasts of a Miami police officer's gun, said witnesses, while mauling another man's face.
According to police, on Saturday afternoon, a witness flagged down a Miami police officer near the exit ramp of the causeway. The police officer ordered Eugene to stop the attack, but he refused and even growled at the officer. The officer opened fire and killed Eugene.
Ronald Poppo, 65, is, according to police sources, the faceless victim. Poppo is at Jackson Memorial Hospital's Ryder Trauma Center in critical condition as a result of the attack.
This story quickly went viral, as most news-of-the-weird tends to do. Nevertheless, those who knew Eugene find it hard to believe, as the description of the enraged cannibal bears no resemblance to the person they knew.
Forte said that classmates from Naples, Orlando to Miami cannot get over this and this isn’t the Rudy we know as he was a nice man with a warm smile and was funny, as well.
Forte thought that Eugene must have been drugs to have that type of behavior.
Another friend, Cassandra Metayer agreed that this type of behavior is very unexpected. She added that he was a good person, a true friend.
According to Metayer, Eugene was the son of Haitian immigrants and grew up in North Miami Beach. In 2005, he married Metayer's cousin, Jenny Ductant, though they divorced two years later. Eugene, she said, worked in customer service.
Metayer said that Eugene wasn't known to use drugs or have mental problems, though she did say that to act as he did, it had to be drugs as no one in their right mind would do what he did. This wasn't the act of a normal person.
Eugene’s ex-wife told a different story in that he bacame violent towards her and that’s why she left him. She also added that she hadn’t spoken to Eugene in three or four years.
Eugene did have a criminal record, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. He was arrested by Miami Beach Police when he was 16 for a battery charge, but the case was dropped. He had been arrested seven other times over five years, with one arrest for battery, one for vending, one for trespassing and four involved marijuana.
The victim in the attack, Ronald Poppo, is a homeless man who had been living on the streets near the MacArthur Causeway for an extended time. Poppo also had run-ins with law enforcement. The Miami-Dade court records show that he had been arrested for a handful of misdemeanors.