Victim, attacker in causeway cannibal attack identified
MIAMI (WHDH) -- The man who lost a significant portion of his face and the other man who allegedly chewed his flesh off before being shot to death by police have both been identified.
According to published reports, the victim who lost 75 percent of his face after another man tore it off with his teeth has been identified as 65-year-old homeless man Ronald Poppo.
Poppo, who has a criminal record, was arrested in 2005 for trespassing on the MacArthur Causeway. On Saturday afternoon, he almost lost his life in the same spot.
Police allege, 31-year-old Rudy Eugene chewed off Poppo's cheeks, nose and one of his eyes while they both lay naked side-by-side along the walkway of the MacArthur Causeway.
Eugene went to North Miami Beach High School and played football. In his senior year, he transferred to North Miami Senior High School and graduated in 2000.
In 2005, Eugene was married but divorced two years later where documents listed his assets as $2 in cash and a $50 cell phone.
The alleged attacker also had a criminal record that includes seven arrests in five years, one of which was for possession of marijuana in 2008.
Larry Vega witnessed Saturday's attack while riding his bicycle along the path. "And the guy just stood his head up like that with a piece of flesh in his mouth and growled," he said.
Vega managed to flag down a Miami Police officer, who then shot and killed Eugene after repeated attempts to demand he stop chewing off Poppo's face.
The aftermath of the attack was caught on surveillance video. A crime scene photo obtained by 7News too graphic to air shows Eugene naked, face down. Poppo was laying on his side, his head completely covered in blood, wearing a shirt but no pants.
Police speculate the reason behind the attacks was drugs and that Eugene may have been on a potent new form of LSD.
Doctors at Jackson Memorial Hospital, where Poppo was transported to, said anything is possible when a person is under the influence of these kind of drugs. "I've seen it with crack cocaine, and I've seen it with Spice where patients, at that time, they are either severely paranoid or in another state of mind," said Dr. Patricia Junquera of Jackson Memorial Hospital. "Any drug that increases dopamine in the brain, increases the effect of psychosis, meaning visually hallucinations, tactile hallucinations, auditory hallucinations."
The hospital would not comment on Poppo's condition but only confirmed that he survived the attack.