Ronald Poppo, the homeless man whose face was nearly chewed off in an attack that brought the words “zombie apocalypse” and “bath salts” to the foreground of everyone’s consciousness, has just released his first interview about the incident. Poppo has been recovering for two months, and now his July 19 police statement has surfaced.`
The details of Rudy Eugene’s assault on Poppo are harrowing. “He just ripped me to ribbons. He chewed up my face,” Poppo said. “Basically that’s all there is to say about it.”
For those terrified of erratic, zombie-like behavior, Poppo’s description of Eugene will provide little to no solace: the man had no apparent motive for attacking Poppo. “He just went and turned berserk,” Poppo recalled. “He apparently didn’t have a good day at the beach and he, he was coming back, and … took it out on me or something.”
Poppo also has no idea what he could have done to provoke such a violent assault. “He was strangling me in wrestling holds at the same time he was plucking my eyes out,” he said. “What can provoke an attack of that type? I certainly didn’t curse at the guy or say anything mean or nasty to him.”
The attack left Poppo blind, and he spent extensive time in the hospital afterwards, moving from Jackson Memorial Hospital to the long-term facility Perdue Medical Center.
Police officers shot Eugene dead when they couldn’t get him to stop attacking Poppo, and the medical examiner’s toxology report confirmed that he was not under the influence of any known street drugs, particularly not the drug known as bath salts.
Bath salts were linked, however, to this Pennsylvania mother’s attack on the maternity ward of Altoona Regional Hospital, a New York mother’s attack on her 3-year-old-child, and this Louisiana man’s biting off another man’s face.
It’s interesting that, even though Eugene was not found to be on bath salts when he attacked Poppo, the attack set off a bath salt media frenzy that then linked the drug to numerous other violent episodes. Listening to Poppo’s interview, it’s clear that no one in their right mind could ever do something this gruesome to another human.
The world may never know why it happened.