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Friday, August 10, 2012 - Page updated at 04:30 p.m.
Cannibal victim says attacker 'ripped me to ribbons'
By Frances Robles
MIAMI — Chronically homeless and recently blinded, Ronald Poppo calmly told detectives about the savage assault that cost him parts of his face.
A man in a green shirt came out of a car he had hitchhiked in, grousing about not being able to buy drugs on the beach. The man seemed friendly at first, Poppo said. The stranger went from being in a "glad mood" to singing the 1960s tune "A Lover's Concerto." Then, Poppo said, he "turned vicious after a minute or two, and he just ripped me to ribbons. He chewed up my face. He plucked out my eyes. Basically, that's all there is to say about it," Poppo told Miami investigators.
In a recorded interview with Miami police obtained and first reported by WFOR-TV in Miami, Poppo is heard describing the May 26 assault by an assailant who "must have had a bad day at the beach."
Because of the attack, Poppo, 65, a homeless alcoholic who lived in a parking garage, became known worldwide as having been the victim of a cannibal.
His recorded interview took place July 19.
He told investigators that he was standing on the MacArthur Causeway when he was approached by a stranger — later identified as Rudy Eugene, 31, who washed cars, and liked to smoke marijuana and quote the Bible.
The attack ended after a Miami police officer fatally shot Eugene.
In the police interview, Poppo sometimes seems confused about some details of the attack. He described Eugene wearing a green shirt and getting out of a car, but surveillance video showed a naked Eugene walking up to Poppo, who was reclining on the sidewalk, not standing.
Poppo was asked if he had provoked Eugene. "What could provoke an attack of that type?" Poppo responded.
Material from The Associated Press is included in this report.
Copyright © The Seattle Times Company
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