Police in Miami believe that the naked homeless man who was shot and killed while he ate the face of another homeless man may have been high on a dangerous drug known as “bath salts.”
Miami police identified the cannibalistic attacker as 31-year-old Rudy Eugene. His victim — identified as 65-year-old Ronald Poppo — remains in critical condition in a Miami-area hospital after at least 75-80% of his face was chewed off.
Hospital staffers say Poppo is suffering from “some of the most horrific injuries” they have ever encountered, and he is completely unrecognizable after Eugene ate part of his nose, cheeks, ears and eyes.
The harrowing attack, which has shocked the world, took place Saturday afternoon (May 26) on a freeway bridge near Miami Beach.
According to police, Rudy Eugene, who they believe had come from a Memorial Day weekend beach party, stripped a sleeping Ronald Poppo naked, beat him, then proceeded to chew lumps of flesh from his face and head.
Eugene continued to eat the man’s face even after a Miami police officer shot him in the chest.
An eyewitness said that Eugene growled like an animal when officers told him to stop before they shot him half a dozen more times, killing him instantly.
Stomach-churning images of Ronald Poppo’s horrific injuries and the crime scene have gone viral.
The photos of the crime scene show a partially-clothed Poppo laying next to his fully nude attacker, and blood is everywhere.
Another set of photos, allegedly taken at the hospital, shows the extent of Poppo’s injuries, and the massive destruction done to his face and head. His facial features are non-existent, and all you can see is a bloody eye and a blood-soaked goatee.
The uncensored images are pretty gruesome, and aren’t for the faint of heart. (CLICK HERE to check them out — but you’ve been warned!)
Doctors, police and news reporters all theorize that Rudy Eugene was high on “bath salts,” a dangerous drug that mimics the effects of highly potent (and illegal) substances like cocaine, LSD and meth-amphetamines.
As Dr. Howard Mell, an emergency room physician from Ohio, noted to CBS News: “These are not the bath salts you buy at Victoria’s Secret … There’s not soap in them.”
Mell says that at least seven people — all under the age of 27 — have died in the two Cleveland-area hospitals where he works at as a result of using “bath salts,” which can cause severe agitation, rapid heart rate, high blood pressure and a number of other ailments.
The drug can also lead to the body overheating, which explains why Rudy Eugene stripped completely naked before his savage attack.
Users of the dangerous drug also experience hallucinations, lose touch with reality and can exhibit psychotic behavior, though calling Eugene’s behavior “psychotic” would be an understatement.
EMS workers who have responded to cases involving users who are high on “bath salts” say that they exhibit super-human strength and don’t respond to stun guns or tasers.
Several workers — and sometimes even burly police officers and/or security guards — are usually required to hold down a person who is high on “bath salts.”
“Addictive substances, whether they are bath salts, alcohol or other drugs, can have horrific and costly consequences. Sometimes these consequences can result from only one use; other times they are a result of the complex brain disease of addiction,” says Susan E. Foster, vice president and director of policy research and analysis at The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.
“Together, risky use of addictive substances and addiction constitute our nation’s largest and most costly health problem. In the interest of health and public safety, Americans must begin to understand that substance use is a preventable public health problem and addiction is a treatable disease,” she added.
According to Jeffrey Scott, a spokesman for the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency, “bath salts” – the street name for the drug that is considered a replacement for cocaine or a synthetic form of the hallucinogen LSD — can be snorted, smoked, or broken down and injected.