What Happened to Ronald Poppo – The Incident that will Dread You

By: Justin Puptez

Published on:

America is a country full of bizarre people and incidents. If you dig into the history of the country, you will come across many events that will leave you more shocked than surprised. From serial killers to murderers to scammers and more, the nation is home to many criminals and criminal activities. One such incident that shocked the world was when a man was attacked and eaten by another man.

Yes, you heard it right.

The event took place on the 26th of May, 2012, when a man named Rudy Eugene attacked and maimed a homeless man, Ronald Poppo, on the MacArthur Causeway in Miami, Florida. The incident made headlines worldwide. There is a clip of the 18-minute encounter that happened between the two.

Here are the details of the incident.

What Happened to Ronald Poppo?

On the morning of the 26th of May, 2012, a 31-year-old man named Rudy Eugene drove to Miami Beach, Florida, for Urban Beach Week. He spent 30-40 minutes on the site and abandoned it at noon to cross the 3-mile-long span of the MacArthur Causeway. Suddenly, Eugene started stripping himself and disposing of his driver’s license. He advanced westward, and his vehicle was eventually discovered and towed by Miami Beach Police. They discovered the Bible and five empty water bottles inside the car.

After becoming entirely naked and discarding everything, even his shoes, and the Bible, at the crime scene, he encountered Ronald Poppo, a 65-year-old homeless man, lying underneath the elevated people mover. In no time, Eugene started to pummel him, strip him of his pants, and bite his face.

A passing cyclist, Larry Vega, came up to the scene and alerted the authorities through 911. A few minutes later, Miami Police Department officer Jose Ramirez arrived, and after his double take at the spectacle, he warned Eugene to desist from attacking Poppo. Eugene ignored his warnings and growled at him, and resumed biting his victim. The attack continued until the officer shot Eugene, not once but four times.

The ordeal was captured by a security camera of The Miami Herald building. Sadly, the attack on Poppo continued for 18 minutes before any help arrived. As a result of the shocking nature of the incident and its worldwide coverage, Eugene came to be dubbed as Miami Zombie and Causeway Cannibal.

Who was Rudy Eugene?

The investigations on Eugene began, and the authorities sought details from his friends and family. But the reason for attacking Poppo remains unclear. As per the information, Eugene was 31 and employed at a car wash at the time of the incident. He was divorced with a series of petty criminal arrests from 16, the last crime recorded in 2009.

There are many theories behind his attack on Poppo. The police sources speculated that it may have resulted from the use of a street drug called ‘bath salts’. But the toxicology shunned this speculation and identified only a little amount of marijuana present in Eugene’s internal system. These investigations resulted in leaving the ultimate cause of his behavior unknown.

When the incident occurred, Poppo was homeless and had long been presumed dead by his estranged family.

The Police Shot Eugene

When Eugene didn’t stop attacking his victim even after multiple warnings from the police, they shot him not once but four times during this heinous attack.

Even Poppo had no idea why he attacked him and said, “He must have been souped on something.”

Ronald Poppo was Grateful to the Police for Saving his Life

Ronald Poppo hadn’t imagined in the wildest of his dreams that something like this would ever happen to him.

After the attack, he was admitted to Jackson Memorial Hospital in a very critical condition. At that time, 75-80 percent of his face above the beard went missing, and his left eye gouged out. He underwent facial reconstruction surgeries, which took months to complete but remained permanently disfigured and blind.

A fund was set up to help with the costs of the surgeries, collecting around $100,700. After gaining consciousness, Poppo told the police that Eugene accused him of stealing his Bible and suddenly, without provocation, attacked and strangled him with wrestling holds and then plucked both his eyes. As a result, he lost his eyebrows, nose, and parts of his forehead, cheek, and left eye. He was left totally blind because of the damage to his right eye. He had to undergo numerous surgeries to repair the damage caused to his face. After rehabilitation, Poppo put on 50 pounds and relearned how to dress, feed himself, shave, and shower. He was granted permission to stay at the medical facility indefinitely.

Where is Ronald Poppo Now?

Per reports, a year after the incident, Poppo was grateful and living his life with a more positive attitude. He even recorded a video thanking the outpouring of love of people in the community and stated he will always be thankful to them.

He even thanked the police, “If they didn’t get there in the nick of time, I would have definitely been in worse shape. Possibly I will be DOA.”

After multiple surgeries, Poppo has insisted he doesn’t want any more help or more surgeries. He doesn’t like to leave his hospital room and doesn’t allow any visitors other than his doctors and nurses. Reportedly, he spends his time playing guitar and likes to listen to Miami Heat games on the radio.

Leave a Comment