Miami Cannibal Victim on Rudy Eugene: ‘I Thought He Was a Good Guy’

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Poppo, pre-attack.Photo: Courtesy of Miami-Dade Police Department

The Miami police have released an interview it conducted in July with Ronald Poppo, the homeless Miami man who was savagely attacked by Rudy Eugene in May. Poppo sounds (listen to him here) kind of like Martin Scorsese and seems to have all of his wits about him still. Which is not to say he remembers everything perfectly about that day. For one thing, he claims that Eugene was fully dressed, even describing the color of his shirt and pants. In reality, Eugene was, famously, completely naked. As far the attack itself, here's how it went down, according to Poppo's recollection:

"A hitchhiker returned from the beach, was kind of in a glad mood for a while, then he turned kind of vicious after a minute or two, and he started to rip me apart. He smashed my face into the sidewalk, my face is all bashed up, my eyes got plucked out, he was strangling me in wrestling holds. At the same time he was picking my eyes out, he was strangling me in wrestling holds. For a very short amount of time I thought he was a good guy, but he just went and turned berserk. He apparently didn’t have a good day at the beach and he was coming back, and I guess he took it out on me or something, I don’t know. The police of course came around and freed me from him ... He didn’t like the beach or something, he said he wasn’t scoring there or something, he went to the beach to score or something, he was in a kind of flustered mood about it, I think."

Despite being left blind and disfigured by this horrible act of random violence, Poppo made sure to express his gratitude to the police as the interview wrapped up. "I thank the Miami Police Department for saving my life," he told the detective. "That's about the best I could sum it up as. If they didn't get there in the nick of time, I would have definitely been in worse shape. Probably I'd be D.O.A."