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Did Drugs Make Rudy Eugene Chew on a Naked Miami Man's Face?

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By Andrew Chow, Esq. on May 29, 2012 4:53 PM

A gruesome cannibalistic attack in which a naked man violently chewed on another man's face may have been fueled by drugs, doctors in Miami say.

Police shot and killed the alleged face-chewer Saturday afternoon after he refused to comply with an officer's order to stop, The Miami Herald reports. Sources later identified the suspect as Rudy Eugene, 31.

"When the officer approached him, told him to stop, pointed a gun at him, he turned around and growled like a wild animal and kept eating at the man's face," a police union leader told Miami's WPLG-TV.

The victim has been identified as Ronald Poppo, 65, according to NBC Miami. Poppo is listed in critical condition at a Miami hospital.

An autopsy will likely determine what drugs, if any, were in Rudy Eugene's system when he was shot and killed for the face-chewing attack. (An autopsy is required for any non-natural or traumatic death, according to Florida law.)

One theory is that Eugene, who got married in 2005 and divorced in 2007, was in a "cocaine psychosis" in which drugs raise a person's body temperature and cause a user to take off his clothes to cool off, The Herald reports.

Similar theories point to LSD or "bath salts," a designer street drug made from synthetic stimulants, according to WebMD. Bath salts are illegal in many states, including Florida, which banned them in 2011.

Rudy Eugene had a history of arrests, mostly for marijuana-related offenses, The Herald reports. Eugene was also arrested for battery as a juvenile, but the charge was dropped. Poppo, too, has an arrest record, NBC Miami reports.

Much of Poppo's face was torn apart and his eyes were gouged. "We're hoping that he pulls through for his well-being, but also so he can tell us what happened. Only he knows," a Miami policeman told The Herald.

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