Classmates of Rudy Eugene are describing the man accused of mauling a homeless man's face as "a nice gentleman with a warm smile and funny."
“This is not his character,” said Cassandra Metayer, who went to middle school and high school with Eugene.
“This type of behavior is very unexpected,” she added. “He was a good person, a true friend. He was a nice, outgoing ready-to-help-anybody kind of guy."
Eugene, 31, the son of Haitian immigrants, was shot to death on Saturday by a Miami officer who saw him "eating" the face of 65-year-old Ronald Poppo on the MacArthur Causeway just south of Biscayne boulevard.
Poppo, whose face was mangled beyond recognition, was transported to Jackson Hospital's Ryder Trauma Center where he is in critical condition. Doctors were forced to cut a hole into his neck to give him oxygen because his nose and lips were so savagely mutilated.
Christian Alvarez, 36, a security guard patrolling the parking deck of the Miami Herald newspaper offices nearby, described the scene when paramedics arrived to treat Poppo.
"They grabbed him by the leg and pulled him to the stretcher, like garbage,” he told the Miami Herald. "I didn’t like that."
Alvarez, who was riding a golf cart, said he heard the victim moaning and saw him trying to sit up. The dead man, who was completely naked, appeared to have three or four gunshot wounds to his back, he said.
Metayer said Eugene, who played football for North Miami Beach high school, married her cousin, Jenny Ductant, in Hollywood in 2005.
They separated 2 years later. Ductant agreed to assume the couple's debt because Eugene assets included $2 and $50 for a cell phone, according to the Miami Herald.
Disturbing photos of the crime scene have gone viral online. The photos show Poppo, who is partially clothed, laying next to Eugene, who appears deceased. Another photo, allegedly taken at the ER, shows the destruction caused to Poppo's face and head. Human features are unrecognizable in the photos.
Reporters theorize that Eugene was under the influence of "bath salts" a powdered chemical that is mixed with other drugs and contains amphetamine-like substance, similar to the MDMA found in Ecstasy pills.
Emergency rooms are reporting an alarming increase in "bath salts" cases across the country. Ingesting or snorting "bath salts" stimulants can cause chest pains, high blood pressure, increased heart rate, aggression, agitation, hallucinations, extreme paranoia, and delusions.
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