By Debbie Emery - Radar Reporter
Ronald Poppo is “now awake and alert,” revealed doctors at Miami’s Jackson Memorial Hospital, who revealed that along with the homeless man’s horrific facial injuries, he may also have been accidentally shot twice in the chest by police when they opened fire on his attacker.
“He's coping remarkably well. We have mental health professionals to help him,” trauma surgeon Nicholas Namias told reporters, reported the New York Daily News.
As RadarOnline.com previously reported, Eugene was found lying naked on Poppo on May 26, eating his face in a gruesome Silence of the Lambs style rampage. Eyewitness Larry Vega flagged down a passing policeman who shot and killed the crazed attacker when he didn’t respond to demands that he get off his victim.
New photos (which Radar chose not to publish due to their graphic nature) of the 65-year-old released by his doctors show him walking through a hospital corridor with the aid of a medical assistant. The extensive damage to the upper half of Poppo’s face can clearly be seen, his nose and right eye are gone, his left eye is covered in a bandage and his forehead and cheeks are a mass of bloody wounds.
Already eating, walking and even cheering on his favorite basketball team, doctors are impressed with the upbeat attitude of their “charming” patient, who has so far endured three surgeries - including skin grafts – and will need many more.
When asked if he had a message before a news conference on Tuesday, Poppo replied: “Go Heat!” - referring to the upcoming NBA Finals match up between Miami and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The hospital has started a fund to collect donations for his treatment and has so far raised $15,000, but they will not know if he is a candidate for a full face transplant until his wounds heal.
Investigators suspect that Eugene, 31, was on a potent synthetic drug called “bath salts” that has reportedly caused violent behavior, but nothing as obscene as cannibalism before.