Girlfriend: Face eating suspect caring, religious
Family disputes negative portrayal of man slain by officer
MIAMI – The girlfriend of a man accused of eating the face of another man before being shot by police described her boyfriend as spiritual and caring.
A police officer shot and killed Rudy Eugene, 31, on Saturday after investigators said he ate most of the face of 65-year-old homeless man Ronald Poppo.
Eugene's brother said he had been with his longtime girlfriend until early that morning. The girlfriend said the Eugene she knew would never hurt anyone, that he was very spiritual and that he carried a Bible with him every day.
"It's crazy. I don't understand," said the girlfriend, who did not want to be identified.
Eugene's girlfriend said he was never violent to her or her family during the five years of their relationship. She said she was with Eugene before the incident, that he left her house early that morning to meet a friend.
It was not until Monday that she learned the man who police said ripped off 75 percent of Poppo's face was her boyfriend.
When asked whether Eugene abused drugs, his girlfriend said, "No. He was kind, loving. I don't know. I don't understand. Somebody did something to him. That wasn't Rudy."
It is not clear what prompted the fight on the MacArthur Causeway, but police believe Eugene was in a drug-induced psychosis. That has not been confirmed by toxicology reports.
"At the end of the day, the only one who can judge you is God," his girlfriend said. "That wasn't the Rudy that I knew. That wasn't the Rudy his friends knew."
She said she and Eugene had plans to marry and start a family. For now, she said she is deeply sorry for what happened and is sorry for the victim's family.
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