Sunday, May 27, 2018
Public safety

Newspaper security video shows 'Miami Zombie' mauled victim for 18 grisly minutes

Rudy Eugene walked naked alongside the MacArthur Causeway before pouncing on a homeless man he found dozing in the shade of the elevated Metromover train tracks.

For almost 18 grisly minutes, Eugene savaged his victim, punching him and stripping the man's pants before gnawing off the homeless man's face — all as cars and cyclists rolled by on the busy causeway on a sunny Saturday.

The new details of the horrific attack were captured in additional video footage taken by security cameras at the nearby Miami Herald building.

At least five passers-by, including a Road Ranger from the Florida Department of Transportation, called police. Three bicyclists pedaled by the two bloody men in the minutes before the arrival of Miami police Officer Jose Rivera, who shot and killed Eugene to end the attack, the new footage shows. The shooting itself was obstructed in the video, and the officer appeared to shoot Eugene within a minute of arriving.

On Tuesday police identified Eugene's victim as Ronald Poppo, a 65-year-old homeless man who has lived on Miami's streets for more than three decades. With his nose, mouth and eyes torn off, he remained in critical condition at Jackson Memorial Hospital on Tuesday.

Police have just begun to piece together Eugene's actions in the hours before the attack.

It appears Eugene had been in Miami Beach — in full party mode for Urban Beach Week — shortly before the attack. Eugene's car was towed for being parked illegally at 1100 10th St.

The night before, Eugene had been with his girlfriend in Miami Gardens. She reported that he was acting strangely before leaving in his car. According to police, Eugene later called her to say that his car broke down.

Still unclear is what motivated the attack. Though some have speculated that Eugene was under the influence of some kind of stimulants or other drugs that sometimes cause violent episodes, police said they found no evidence of drugs or paraphernalia at the scene. Toxicology tests of Eugene's blood will likely take several weeks.

Follow the latest on this story at tampabay.com.

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