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Face-eating naked attacker identified in Miami

Published May 29, 2012

MIAMI — The naked man who tried to eat another man's face before he was shot dead by police was identified Monday.

The Miami Herald reported that the attacker was 31-year-old Rudy Eugene.

The man he attacked remained in extremely critical condition Sunday night at Jackson Memorial Hospital. Much of his face was gone, the skin ripped away, the nose bitten and the eyes gouged.

What remained was his goatee and little else.

"We're hoping that he pulls through, for his well-being, but also so he can tell us what happened," said Sgt. Javier Ortiz, vice president of the Miami police union. "Only he knows."

The victim still had not been officially identified Monday.

The macabre scene unfolded about 2 p.m. Saturday on the MacArthur Causeway's off-ramp to Biscayne Boulevard. A Road Ranger spotted the men and shouted on his loudspeaker for the naked attacker to back away. A woman also saw what was happening and flagged down an officer.

One witness said he was riding his bicycle on the MacArthur when he saw a man tearing off pieces of the victim's flesh with his mouth. After an officer approached, Larry Vega told WSVN-FOX7, "The guy just stood, his head up like that, with pieces of flesh in his mouth. And he growled."

The officer fired, striking the attacker, but the man kept chewing, Vega said. The officer fired again, hitting him several more times, eventually killing him.

After that, Vega said, all he saw was blood.

"It's one of the most gruesome things I've ever seen in my life in person," he told the station.

The name of the officer who fired the fatal shots was not released Monday.

Eugene left behind few clues as to what could have prompted the attack. According to court records, he married Jenny Ductant on Dec. 15, 2005, in Hollywood. The marriage ended in divorce after a little more than two years.

"I wouldn't say he had mental problem but he always felt like people was against him. … No one was for him, everyone was against him," his ex-wife told WPLG.

He had just one arrest to suggest serious violence. Miami Beach police arrested him on a battery charge when he was 16, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The charge was later dropped.

He was arrested seven other times over five years. Court records show that one was for misdemeanor battery, one was for vending near a school, one was for trespassing and four involved marijuana. The last case came in September 2009. In January, the charge was dropped.

Security video from the adjacent Miami Herald building captured snippets of Saturday's violence as the two men — one dead, the other gravely injured and wearing only a shirt — lay on the sidewalk as officers arrived.

Days later, the chatter, theories and questions continued.

An emergency room doctor at Jackson Memorial Hospital said Eugene's attack could have been induced by bath salts, a drug nicknamed after the bathroom product it resembles.

Police theorized earlier that it was "cocaine psychosis," a drug-induced craze.

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