Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

911 tapes released in 'Miami Zombie' face-eating attack

The woman's voice is agitated and urgent. She believes she's just seen someone about to die.

"It's a naked man beating another man, beating him, on the MacArthur Causeway, like toward the Miami Herald. … He's gonna kill that man, I promise you, okay?"

The woman is a Miami-Dade bus driver, one of three people who called police on May 26.

What two of them saw was Rudy Eugene, 31, savaging Ronald Poppo, 65. By the time police arrived, Eugene had chewed off Poppo's face.

The Miami Police Department released the 911 tapes of the three calls on Friday, but it's unclear in what order or at what time they were received.

In addition to the bus driver, another man called to report what they thought was a fight.

In the third call, a man sounds nonchalant.

"Hi, how ya doing? I'm just reporting a naked man in front of the Miami Herald building on the highway."

The dispatcher asks if the naked man is on a pole.

"He's next to a pole, actually," the man says. "He was taking off his clothes and throwing them into traffic. He's a black male, curly hair, Rastafarian hair, goatee. You can't miss him. He's naked."

The dispatcher tries to narrow down the location: "What is that, 836?"

Man: "But he's on the sidewalk next to the expressway. He definitely is on the side of the Miami Herald building. You could send somebody over there. Yup — there he is."

A younger-sounding man also called in to report that "in the bike lane sort of thing, two bums, they were goin' at it, taking up the whole lane. I think they were fighting."

The caller says he's at NE 13th Street and N Bayshore Drive off the causeway ramp, and that the men are "clearly visible."

The dispatcher asks for his phone number, which he reluctantly gives after saying he's "leaving the area." He describes the men as "black or Hispanic or just very tan."

When the dispatcher asks for his name, he says: "Mike."

"They almost knocked over an old lady who was riding by," he tells the dispatcher. "I thought you should know."

Reached at home on Friday evening, "Mike" said he made his call at 2:07 p.m. That would have been about five minutes before police showed up.

Mike declined to give his last name. He said he saw no blood when he passed by the scene, and "did not get a good look" at what the two men were doing.

"Honestly," he said, "I thought they were having sex."

On the tapes, only the bus driver, who would have had a higher vantage point than a conventional motorist, seems alarmed.

When the dispatcher asks if she has an emergency, she says, "Yes, I do. Listen, there is a naked man on the MacArthur Causeway, at the end of the causeway coming toward Biscayne. He is beating another man to a pulp, like on top of the man, beating him. He is bleeding."

She tells the dispatcher: "I'm a bus driver. I passed by and saw what was happening. It's a naked man beating another man, beating him, on the McArthur toward the Miami Herald at the end of the causeway. He's gonna kill that man, I promise you."

In surveillance footage shot from the Herald, three buses pass by during the 18-minute attack.

The first rolls by slowly, just as Eugene appears to be standing over Poppo, stripping him. The bus passes at about 2 p.m., some 13 minutes before the first police officer arrived on the scene. This bus also pauses on the causeway ramp several yards before the traffic light at North Bayshore.

A second bus passes more than six minutes later. This bus does not appear to slow down.

About a minute later, a third bus, which appears to be a tour-type bus, passes by.

Poppo survived the attack, but police shot and killed Eugene, who refused an order to stop his assault, and, with flesh in his mouth, growled at police.

Poppo, who'd been homeless for decades, remained in critical condition at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

911 tapes released in 'Miami Zombie' face-eating attack 06/02/12 [Last modified: Saturday, June 2, 2012 8:47pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Mother's testimony about toddler's death brings judge to tears

    Criminal

    TAMPA — Nayashia Williams woke up early on May 7, 2014, to the sound of her daughter calling for her. It was the last time the young mother's mornings would begin with a summons from Myla Presley, who couldn't yet climb over the mesh fencing around the playpen she used as a bed.

    Deandre Gilmore looks towards the gallery Tuesday in a Tampa courtroom. Gilmore is accused of killing the 19 month-old daughter of his girlfriend in 2014. He said the child fell while he was giving her a bath. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  2. Speakers: Getting tough can't be only response to teen car thefts

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — Bob Dillinger remembers coming to Pinellas County as a legal intern in 1975. There were five major poverty zones in St. Petersburg.

  3. Internal White House documents allege manufacturing decline increases abortions, infertility and spousal abuse

    Politics

    White House officials working on trade policy were alarmed last month when a top adviser to President Donald Trump circulated a two-page document that alleged a weakened manufacturing sector leads to an increase in abortion, spousal abuse, divorce and infertility, two people familiar with the matter told the …

  4. Black entrepreneur says city stiffing him on project after he endorsed Rick Baker

    News

    ST. PETERSBURG — A prominent African-American resident says his endorsement of mayoral candidate Rick Baker has led city officials to freeze him out of a major construction project along the historic "Deuces" stretch of 22nd Street S.