(MIAMI) — Miami police suspect that what caused a 31-year-old man to rip off his clothes and viciously gnaw on the face of another man in a daylight attack on a busy highway is a new and extremely dangerous street drug known as “bath salts.”
A Miami police officer shot Rudy Eugene Saturday after repeated pleas for him to stop eating another man’s face. His demands were met with only growls. Eugene continued, and it took four bullets to kill and finally stop him as witnesses watched in horror.
According to police, little remained of the victim’s face, with 75 percent of it eaten away, rendering him almost unrecognizable. One source says all that remained was blood and the victim’s goatee.
Police have not officially connected Eugene’s behavior to “bath salts,” but experts say he was exhibiting the classic signs of someone high on the drug.
Armando Aguilar, president of the Miami Fraternal Order of police, who has been in contact with the officer who killed Eugene, says the similarities between this and other recent cases involving “bath salts” are striking.
“The cases are similar minus a man eating another. People taking off their clothes. People suddenly have super-human strength,” says Aguilar. “They become violent and they are burning up for the inside. Their organs are reaching a level that most would die. By the time police approach them they are a walking dead person.”
According to WPLG, the victim was a 65-year-old, apparently homeless man who was living near the causeway where the attack occurred. The victim, identified as Ronald Poppo, is listed in critical condition at Jackson Memorial Hospital, WPLG reports.
Eugene, who was believed to be homeless, left few clues behind as to what led to the attack. Court records show that although he was arrested several times, they were for minor offenses. His ex-wife described him as having violent tendencies, but is shocked by the attack.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Chuck Johnston, CNN Newswire
Ray Sanchez, CNN Newswire