(CBS/WFOR/AP) MIAMI -- A friend of Rudy Eugene, who declined to give his last name, said the man police say chewed and destroyed 65-year-old Ronald Poppo’s face along a busy Miami highway ramp is nothing like the guy he knew since middle school.
Eugene’s friend Bobby told CBS Miami that the last words Eugene said to him on Thursday before an officer shot him after refusing to stop attacking Poppo was that he wanted to be “closer to God.”
“His last words to me were that he wanted to get his life right and that he wanted to get closer to God,” Bobby told the station. “And he wanted to stop smoking pot. That’s it.”
Bobby has known Eugene since middle school. More than 15 years later, he say the images of his friend lying naked after chewing the face off a stranger just don’t line up with the man he knew.
“I saw the video and that’s not Rudy,” Bobby said. “Physically, it was Rudy. But mentally, that was not Rudy.”
Eugene’s friends say he wasn’t a drinker or a drug addict. But Miami Police believe the 31-year-old was under the influence of LSD, or possibly a designer drug known as “bath salts.”
Bobby doesn’t doubt the theory but he doesn’t think Eugene was responsible.
“It had to be some sort of drug that somebody must have slipped on him, because Rudy wouldn’t so much as pop a Tylenol pill,” Bobby said. “If I was there, I guarantee you it wouldn’t have happened.”
Officials are not releasing details of the shooting, citing the ongoing investigation. The Miami-Dade County medical examiner declined to provide any information until after the autopsy is complete. Police have not released details about the autopsy and it could be weeks before the results of toxicology tests are available.
Officials say Poppo, who lived under the causeway, is still in critical condition.