[CONTENT NOTE: murders and gruesome violence discussed; no violent images.]
Once upon a time in a very strange land called Florida, a 65-year old homeless man named Ronald Poppo was resting in the shade underneath a bridge by a beach. Rudy Eugene, an acquaintance Poppo barely knew, approached him. Eugene was buck naked, but friendly, complaining to Poppo that he hadn’t been able to “score.” Then, without warning, he suddenly accused Poppo of stealing his Bible, and said they were both going to die. In an instant he attacked Poppo, brutally pummeling, strangling and putting him in wrestling holds, before plucking out both of his eyes and then eating the man’s face.
Just then, a d00d on a bicycle happened to pass by, and called 9-1-1. He yelled “Get off!” at Eugene, who ignored him and kept right on chomping.
Within minutes, officer Jose Ramirez of Miami PD arrived at the scene. Poppo was unconscious, but still alive. Ramirez ordered Eugene to stop and back away from Poppo several times, but Eugene just picked up his head for a moment, Poppo’s bloody flesh hanging from his mouth, and growled at the officer before promptly resuming his face-eating zombie activities. Ramirez drew his weapon and shot Eugene once, but the bullet had no apparent effect. He emptied four more rounds into him, and Rudy Eugene died at the scene.
The entire incident was caught by security cameras outside of the Miami Herald building, right across the street.
It was May, in the Year of Our Lard 2012.
Face-eating killer zombie Rudy Eugene
family photo* (undated)
Austin Kelly Harrouff, a 19-year-old fratbro at Florida State University, stabbed and bludgeoned a random couple to death in their garage, using his pocket knife and other items he found at the scene. A neighbor who attempted to intervene was stabbed five times, before retreating to call 911.
Ten minutes later a sheriff’s deputy arrived to discover Harrouff in the driveway on top of the male victim’s body, “grunting and making animal-like noises” and eating the man’s face.
Face-eating killer zombie Austin Harrouff
(high school photo)
This is what happened next:
The deputy used a Taser on Harrouff, but it didn’t work. The deputy tried to pull Harrouff off, “but he was exhibiting abnormal levels of strength,” [Martin County Sheriff William] Snyder said. Harrouff wasn’t wearing a shirt, and Snyder described him as fairly muscular.
A few minutes later two more deputies arrived, followed by police officers from two local towns including a K-9 unit.
“Nothing was working,” Snyder said. “They were using all the force that they were able to muster physically.”
Tequesta and Jupiter police departments helped sheriff’s officials, Snyder said, and a Tequesta police K-9 was used on Harrouff to get him off Stevens. Officials eventually were able to remove Harrouff, who sustained a bite from the police K-9.
Austin Harrouff was taken into custody.
No bullets were fired, no guns were ever pulled.
Oh, and this one little detail is interesting: before he went all face-eating zombie apocalypse on everybody, Harrouff was last seen wearing white shorts, a blue polo shirt, and a red Make America Great Again baseball cap.
Ronald Poppo survived face-eating killer zombie Rudy Eugene’s attack, although even after multiple reconstructive surgeries his face is permanently disfigured. He also lost one eye and was rendered blind in the other. Poppo, who became homeless decades ago, now resides in a Medicaid care facility where he has received rehabilitation, therapy, and learned to play guitar. He credits officer Ramirez with saving his life.
As of this writing, face-eating killer zombie Austin Harrouff is resting comfortably at a local hospital in stable condition after surgery on his hand for a self-inflicted injury. It seems he nearly sliced off one of his own fingers during all that frenzied stabbing. Still no word on why he didn’t just bite it off and eat it, though.
Black Lives Matter activist Jasmen Rogers and others are asking all the right questions, as usual. “When white people are far more violent, and far more erratic, they’re often brought in alive and apprehended using less lethal means,” she said.
Florida [has] some of the most racially-biased police shooting rates in the nation. In Miami-Dade, for example, unarmed black individuals are estimated to be more than 22 times as likely to be shot by police than unarmed white individuals.
As Niki says:
In a country where a 12-year-old gets killed in a drive-by by the cops, where a man can somehow magically break his own spine in a police van, and SWAT is called to collect on a damned traffic ticket, THIS MOTHERFUCKER RIGHT HERE is alive…Why is he still alive when all of the supposed deescalation tactics didn’t work?
Martin County Sheriff William Snyder was asked that question. He said he could not yet say why no one shot Austin Harrouff.
*Interestingly, a Google image search for Rudy Eugene returns dozens of hits on major media sites that carried the story, and almost every single one of them used his mug shot(s) to accompany the articles and videos. Eugene had one previous arrest for assault, and several more for weed-related “crimes.” Also available courtesy of Google are horrific crime scene photos of Rudy Eugene lying dead and naked at the scene, Ronald Poppo at various stages in his recovery, and vomit-inducing racist memes incorporating all of the above. (WARNING: if you’re tempted to click that link or search for any of these images yourself, be aware that many are extremely disturbing. I am NOT FUCKING JOKING, people.)
I chose a family photo of Rudy Eugene for this post not because I think he should be alive today—in my view, the officer responded with appropriate, escalating measures in his attempt to stop the attack, including first firing a single bullet. When that didn’t work he shot Eugene again several times, and saved the life of his victim. I chose this image of Eugene because people of color are far too often portrayed in news media solely by their mug shots, especially when they have been shot by police. Whatever they may have done, however troubled they may be, they are also complex human beings who cannot and should not be reduced solely to their arrest record for weed busts (or anything else). This routine practice perpetuates racism by regularly associating criminality with skin color in the minds of viewers, and thereby helps justify our brutal carceral system and the state violence to which people of color are already disproportionately subjected.
It sure wasn’t hard for the media to get their hands on a whole bunch of photos of Austin Harrouff that aren’t mug shots. Just sayin’.