Graduation from North Miami High School in 2000 only left him more adrift. Ruth Charles had become a nursing assistant and she wanted Eugene to work in the health care industry, too.
"I would go after him to go to college, go to vocational school, learn something," she said, but the conversations often ended in a fight. "I wanted him to do be in health care because you can always get a job."
Instead Eugene was a wanderer, never quite settling down. He lived off and on with friends and his mother -- she ordered him out of the house several times. He detailed cars at dealerships and worked as a forklift operator. He talked about becoming a small-business owner, wanting to open up a mobile car wash.
In 2004, Eugene had another fight with his mother. This time, it escalated. Sweating profusely, he pushed her out of the kitchen, smashed a table and told her, "I'll put a gun to your head and kill you," according to police.
When North Miami Beach police arrived, he "balled his hands into a fist" and threatened several police officers. When one officer drew his taser, Eugene responded, "What, you gonna shock me?" and "I'll kick your ass."
It took three taser shots to subdue Eugene.
"Thank God you're here, he would have killed me," Charles told officers on the scene.
While Eugene was being transported to the station he told police, "Officer, I'm sorry, I should have never acted like that. My mother just makes me upset because she always calls me a bum."
The battery charge was later dropped, but Eugene pleaded guilty to resisting arrest and was sentenced to probation.
About six weeks before Eugene turned 24, he married Jenny Ductant, who he met while studying in high school. The marriage broke up after 18 months because she said he was violent, according to an interview on WPLG-ABC 10 in May.
In 2007, he met Rikkia Cross as they were both in their cars at a red light, made eye contact and he honked the horn at her. Drawn to his good looks, Cross gave Eugene her phone number, the beginning of a rocky but enduring five-year relationship.
Weeks after his death, Cross sat in the wood paneled living room of her parents' modest home in Miami Gardens, the only place she says she feels safe, outside media scrutiny. Crying, she slowly scrolled through her cell phone looking at pictures of Eugene, the most recent taken the day before he was killed.
Cross, a dispatcher at an air conditioning company, talked softly about how they connected instantly, how after only five months, the couple moved into a two-bedroom apartment in Broward County. They spent time watching movies, riding go-karts and reading the Bible. She kept the pantry stocked with his favorite snack: Famous Amos cookies, chocolate chip and pecan.
"Rudy was sweet and kind," she said, "the type of dude you want to be with forever. He was my heart."
As friends and family try to piece together Eugene's final hours, a few of the gaps have been filled in. The evening before the attack, Christian, Eugene's longtime friend, said a troubled Eugene came over to visit Christian's brother.
"My brother said Rudy didn't look right," said Christian. "(Eugene) said he needed to talk to (my brother) about something but never got a chance to say what it was."
The next morning, Cross said, Eugene was up about 5 a.m. scouring their closet for something, leaving heaps of clothing strewn across the room. He kissed Cross on the lips and walked out the door carrying his King James Bible and a brown book he used to jot down scriptures.
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