Miami Zombie

Miami Zombie

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Overview

Miami Zombie (also known as “Miami Cannibal”) is the nickname given to Rudy Eugene, a deceased man who viciously attacked and cannibalized the homeless man Ronald Poppo in May of 2012.

Background

On May 26th, 2012, the Miami Herald[1] published an article titled “Naked man killed by Police near MacArthur Causeway was ‘eating’ face off victim”, which reported that police had discovered a man chewing on another man’s face on the MacArthur Causeway ramp in Miami, Florida. The man continued the assault after being ordered by officers to back away, and was subsequently shot six times. The article went on to report that police suspected the man was experiencing a drug-induced psychotic episode brought on by consuming cocaine.

Notable Developments

After being reported by the Miami Herald on May 26th, 2012, the story was covered by other news media outlets including MSNBC, The New York Post[3], The Huffington Post[4], The Daily Mail[5] and USA Today.[6] The following day, YouTuber GalzZone uploaded a video titled “Man Eating Another Man’s Face In Miami”, featuring security camera footage of the attack. Within four days, the video received over 950,000 views and 1,700 comments.



Victim’s Identity

On May 28th, 2012, the Miami Herald[7] identified the victim as 65-year-old Ronald Poppo, a homeless man who had been living on the streets for 30 years. According to CBS News[16], Poppo was a decorated student at a prestigious high school in New York City before becoming homeless in his 30s.



Bath Salts Rumors

On May 29th, 2012, ABC News[14] published an article titled “Face-Eating Attack Possibly Prompted by ‘Bath Salts,’ Authorities Suspect”, which reported that the Eugene may have been using the synthetic stimulant drug Mephedrone. The stimulant that goes by the street name “bath salts” has been known to cause violent behavior and the stripping off of one’s clothes in order to cool the body from overheating. The same day, Redditor KingContext submitted a post to the /r/Drugs[15] subreddit, which complained that news outlets were demonizing the chemical Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) by confusing it with Mephedrone.

Zombie Apocalypse

On May 27th, 2012, The Miami Zombie Twitter[12] account was created, which featured tweets written in the perspective of a hungry undead creature. On May 29th, BuzzFeed[9] staff member Donna Dickens published a post titled “Zombie Apocalypse Begins in Florida”, which listed several strange events leading up the the Miami attack. On May 30th, Redditor ATKDragon submitted a rage comic titled “Not a zombie rage” (shown below) to the f7u12[10] subreddit, which joked about the Miami attack being perceived as a sign of a zombie outbreak. Within two days, the post received over 3,400 up votes and 150 comments.



The same day, Newsweek and The Daily Beast launched a custom Google Map[11] titled “Zombie Instances, May 2012” was created, which featured tagged locations where news stories related to strange outbreaks and cannibalism were reported (shown below). On May 31st, the women’s interest blog Jezebel[8] published an article titled “There is No Miami Zombie Apocalypse, Just Mentally Ill People With No Safety Net”, which criticized the zombie apocalypse jokes for being insensitive and ignoring the root causes of the Miami cannibalism incident.



View Zombie Instances, May 2012 in a larger map


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