Police in Miami are still baffled by what transpired Saturday afternoon on the MacArthur Causeway's off-ramp to Biscayne Boulevard, where a naked 31-year-old Rudy Eugene was found consuming the face of another naked man.
Officers attempted to force Eugene off his victim with gunfire, but he refused to budge, and was eventually killed. "It's one of the most gruesome things I've ever seen in my life in person," witness Larry Vega told WSVN.
Next to nothing is known about the homeless person on the receiving end of Eugene's bizarre attack, except that most of his face, save for his goatee, is missing. He is currently fighting for his life at Jackson Memorial Hospital. "We're hoping that he pulls through, for his well-being, but also so he can tell us what happened," Sgt. Javier Ortiz said.
Though the unidentified man and his story remain a mystery for the time being, a bit is known about the perpetrator of Saturday's gruesome episode thanks to his police record.
Eugene was arrested multiple times, mostly on misdemeanor drug charges. His worst offense was a battery charge at 16 that was later dropped. According to his ex-wife, from whom he divorced in 2007, Eugene was a violent and paranoid person. "No one was for him, everyone was against him," she told WPLG, but stopped short of saying he had mental problems.
When Local 10 visited Eugene's last known address, they were told by a resident that the previous residents lost the home to forclosure last year. Homeless people who reside near the assault site told the station Eugene could often be seen wandering the area looking confused.
Though police had earlier theorized that Eugene's behavior could be attributed to "cocaine psychosis," Fraternal Order of Police President Armando Aguilar has since changed the substance of influence to the stimulant Mephedrone — AKA "bath salts" — citing similar attack in the area that were carried out by users of the drug.
"It causes them to go completely insane and become very violent," said Augilar.
The possibility of "excited delirium" playing a part in Eugene's violence has been broached by Miami New Times, which two years ago asked if Miami-Dade County was experiencing a full-blown epidemic of the controversial "syndrome."