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Officer recalls face-eating man's violent past

Eugene first man shocked by Taser by North Miami Beach police

MIAMI – Eight years prior to Rudy Eugene's frenzied, cannibalistic attack on a homeless man Saturday, his bizarre behavior was documented by North Miami Beach police officers who arrested him for beating and threatening to kill his mother.

"We could hear him yelling and throwing things inside the house," said Mike Pons, one of the North Miami police detectives who arrested Eugene that day in 2004.

Eugene made history that day as the first person ever to be shocked with a Taser by a North Miami Beach officer. Records show officers discharged the stun gun three times to subdue him.

"He wasn't cooperative, wouldn't follow orders, very belligerent," Pons said. "He had that thousand-yard stare, staring right into you, not assessing or understanding what the commands were."

Pons said Eugene may have been mentally ill, but police officers responding to his mother's home were not privy to his mental health history.

Miami-Dade County Judge Steven Leifman said Eugene was never referred to the court's mental illness diversion program, despite repeated arrests and erratic behavior.

"We're getting much more sophisticated at that," Judge Leifman said. "But four years ago, which was the last time we would have had a shot to get him, he just never came into the mental health part, unfortunately."

That arrest in 2008 was Eugene's most recent.  He was eventually found guilty, but the court suspended his sentence, citing in court records, "... the defendant is not likely to engage in a criminal course of conduct".

On Saturday, Eugene proved that prediction wrong.

About the Author:

Glenna Milberg joined Local 10 News in September 1999 to report on South Florida's top stories and community issues. She also serves as co-host on Local 10's public affairs broadcast, "This Week in South Florida."