Yovanka Bryant, 27, had dated 31-year-old Rudy Eugene for four months before the attack occurred over the Memorial Day weekend. She states that she and Eugene had Bible studies together as they watched popular televangelists, and that Eugene carried his Bible often.
Bryant explained that Eugene was also studying the Koran.
“He was just figuring out the Quran. He just really picked up the Quran and was trying to actually get into it as he was into the Bible,” she said.
Reports outline that Eugene had spent the night at his girlfriend’s house and left the day of the attack. He took his Bible with him and headed for South Beach. Toxicology tests show that Eugene had also smoked marijuana just hours before the incident.
At 2:00 p.m., witnesses say that Eugene was dangling from one of the light poles of the causeway “acting like Tarzan,” and then pummeled 65-year-old Ronald Poppo, who was sitting in the shade on the sidewalk. Eugene began stripping away the man’s clothing and tore at his face with his teeth. The attack lasted approximately 18 minutes before he was shot dead by police. Officers on the scene state that when they ordered Eugene to back away from Poppo, he turned at them and growled. Other eye witnesses say that he was acting “like a rabid dog.”
“His last words to me were that he wanted to get his life right and that he wanted to get closer to God, and he wanted to stop smoking pot. That’s it,” Eugene’s friend Bobby Chery told CBS Miami. “He [also] said he had something that he wanted to tell us, but he didn’t know that we would understand.”
“I think Eugene was typical of what I see happening here in South Florida, especially Miami, where you have people that are very religious — they know about the Bible … but they’re living a double life. They’re entrenched in sin,” stated Pastor Jack Hakimian of Impact Miami Church. “I think, bottom line, Eugene was playing with religion and not being really sincere with God.”
Eugene was divorced, and Bryant is a single mother of three. She has now hired well-known feminist attorney Attorney Gloria Alred for representation as she speaks to the media about her short-lived relationship with Eugene.
Toxicology tests are ongoing, but reveal numerous undigested pills in Eugene’s stomach.