SAN BERNARDINO – The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s office determined that the officer involved shooting involving the now deceased, George Ramirez was justified. The case was fully investigated using diagrams, photos, video taken by the police helicopter, coroner reports, audio interviews of both officers and witnesses and reports prepared by San Bernardino Police.
The incident began on November 13, 2014, when detective #1, who is a member of the Los Angeles Impact Narcotic Unit received information that a large quantity of drugs were going to be transported into the United States through the Calexico/Mexicali border. Working alongside the Imperial Valley DA’s office, Detective #1 followed the gold Ford Taurus from Calexico to San Bernardino. The suspect, met with another male, later identified as George Ramirez in San Bernardino. Ramirez got into the front passenger seat of the vehicle and the two then drove to the Inland Center mall where the driver got out of the vehicle and Ramirez drove the vehicle away.
The Impact team followed Ramirez back to a home located on East Rialto Avenue in the City of San Bernardino. A large box truck was in the driveway of the home, which was moved by Ramirez. Ramirez then got back into the Taurus and drove up the driveway to a detached garage behind the home. The box truck was then put back in place in the driveway, blocking the ground units view of the Taurus. The helicopter was able to maintain surveillance on the home and observed the movement of Ramirez moving back and forth from the home to the garage. Several people arrived at the home and after around 90 minutes, some people began leaving the home. In order to keep the drugs from leaving the scene while they obtained a search warrant, they decided they had to move in to preserve evidence.
Most of the officers were in plain clothing and they approached they identified themselves as law enforcement. Some of the officers went to the front of the home, while others approached the garage area. The officers approached the Taurus, walking around the box truck. As they approached they could see the back end of the Taurus off the ground and it appeared as if someone was working on it. They could hear voices that sounded like a radio was on inside the garage.
Detective one went to the vehicle and with his gun drawn knelt down beside the vehicle. He could see the person’s arms under the vehicle and according to officials said, in English several times: Police, let me see your hands.” He then pounded on the hood and repeated the command in Spanish several times. When he looked back under the vehicle, he could no longer see the arms. When Detective #1 looked up he saw Ramirez’s head come up and his arm extended toward him. Detective #1 heard the gunshot, saw a flash and felt pain in his lower back side. The Detective, while facing Ramirez heard another gunshot, felt another pain to his side, and fell to his knees.
Thinking Ramirez was attempting to kill him and his partner, Detective #1 fires 5-6 rounds toward Ramirez. Moving to safety, Ramirez fires 5-6 additional rounds through a plywood door. When determined to be safe, Detective #1 ran down the driveway and requested medical aid. Through medical evaluation and treatment it was determined that Detective #1 suffered a through and through gunshot wound in his right hip, he was also hit in the right lower back of his tactical vest.
During the investigation, a unloaded .22 Derringer was located in Ramirez’ right hand. Also located was 10 kilos (approximately 22 pounds) of methamphetamine individually wrapped. These wrapped packages were located in a cardboard tube under the Taurus and additional packages were located inside the gas tank.
A total of 41 spent cartridge casings from the officer’s guns were located, and no shell casings that were fired from Ramirez’ gun were located. Suitable ammunition was located in the garage, which was in disarray with many open bags and boxes. San Bernardino County District Attorney’s officials said, “There is a possibility that shell casings from Ramirez’s gun flew into one of many hiding spots and thus were never located by the crime scene investigators.” The bullet found lodged inside Detective #1’s vest was determined to be fired from the other detective’s gun.
An autopsy performed on George Ramirez five days after the incident, on November 18, 2014, determined that he died as a result of a gunshot wound to the back of his head. He was found to have a total of six gunshot wounds. A toxicology exam on Ramirez showed that it was positive for Methamphetamine and Amphetamine.
The fatal officer-involved shooting was justified due to the five involved officers using deadly force in order to prevent death or great bodily injury to themselves or other officers. “Given the imminent threat of death and actual great bodily injury to be inflicted by Ramirez, they were justified in employing deadly force,” District Attorney officials said. “Their conduct is, therefore, justifiable as self-defense and defense of others and no criminal liability should attach to them.”
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