Following the unbelievably-violent attack that left Ronald Poppo, a homeless man in Miami, Florida, with a nearly-entirely chewed-off face, the victim is finally speaking out.
In interviews with authorities -- his first publicly-released words since the attack in May -- Poppo said that Rudy Eugene, the so-called "cannibal" (although he didn't actually consume Poppo's flesh) responsible for the attack "just ripped [him] to ribbons."
"He chewed up my face. He plucked out my eyes. Basically that’s all there is to say about it," Poppo lamented.
The police interviews provide more details about the bloody and life-threatening encounter, particularly about what happened before Eugene attacked the man. According to Poppo, the assailant was initially friendly when he approached him. But, he claims that Eugene suddenly became angry about an incident that had apparently unfolded on Miami Beach, where thousands of people were partying throughout Memorial Day weekend.
"For a while he was acting nice. Then he got flustered," Poppo recalled in the July 19 interview, according to The Associated Press. "He probably remembered something that happened on the beach and was not happy about it."
In the end, though, the victim says he has no idea why Eugene attacked him and he can only assume that it was a reaction to something that had happened previously that day. "He just went and turned berserk," he maintained in discussions with Miami homicide Det. Sgt. Altarr Williams and Det. Frankie Sanchez.
Among the more revealing parts of the interview was the dialogue between Poppo and authorities about what Eugene was saying to the man during his vicious attack. CBS Miami has more:
Sgt. Williams asked Poppo what Eugene was saying when he attacked him.
“’You, me, buddy, and nobody else here,’” Poppo recalled. “’I'm gonna — gonna kill you.’ Or something like that, I guess.”
“Did he say why?” Williams inquired.
“No, he just started to scream,” Poppo explained. “And was talking kind of funny talk for a while too.”
“What do you mean by funny talk?” Williams asked.
“That I was gonna die. And he was gonna die,” Poppo said. “He must have been souped up on something.” [...]
“He mashed my face into the sidewalk,” he said. “My face is all bent and mashed up. My eyes, my eyes got plucked out. He was strangling me in wrestling holds at the same time he was plucking my eyes out.”
While it was assumed that, at the time of the attack, Eugene was on bath salts, a drug growing in popularity, a medical examiner dispelled this rumor back in June; bath salts were not found in his system.
Here's the CBS Miami news report, featuring Poppo's words:
In a subsequent interview, Poppo told authorities that Eugene blamed him for stealing his Bible. While pieces of the book were found scattered along the road, Poppo claimed he never saw Eugene with a Bible and he flatly denied taking it. In fact, he recalled nothing being in Eugene's hands when they met.
Poppo is now blind in both eyes and his wounds -- which we've shown you before -- are still in the process of healing.
(H/T: CBS Miami)