HomeCity NewsVideo, 911 Calls Released in Officer-Involved Shooting

Video, 911 Calls Released in Officer-Involved Shooting

Body-worn camera footage and recorded 911 calls were among the slate of evidence released in a recent Burbank Police Department debrief detailing the May 27 shooting death of Ruben Ramos by Burbank Police officers in a Burbank Home Depot parking lot.

The 23-minute-long debrief video, which was released by BPD on Tuesday, provided the public with new facts about the incident and the ongoing police investigation, including that Ramos feared his 21-year-old daughter had been abducted and he thought she was being murdered, and that Ramos had thought he was being followed prior to the shooting incident.

“The Department of Justice spoke with [his daughter] in person, and confirmed she was not the victim of a crime and was unharmed,” BPD Spokesperson Sgt. Brent Fekety told the Leader. BPD could not confirm if Ramos was experiencing some form of psychosis or mental health episode, as the Department of Justice has assumed control of the investigation per state law.

On May 27, at about 3:50 p.m., the California Highway Patrol received a phone call from Ramos claiming he was in a vehicle in the parking lot of Home Depot, located at 1200 South Flower St. Initially, Ramos told 911 operators that his daughter had been kidnapped.

“I think my daughter’s been abducted and I think she’s currently being harmed,” Ramos told CHP dispatch. He elaborated, telling the operator that he tried to call his daughter, and a man answered the phone before hanging up.

Ramos told CHP dispatch that his daughter lived in Winnetka, which prompted the operator to say that he would need to loop in the Los Angeles Police Department to investigate, according to the 911 call.

Then, the conversation took a turn. Ramos insisted that BPD be sent to his location in Burbank, rather than to Winnetka.

“Yeah, but I’m currently in Burbank, and I’m telling you right now it’s going to be a shooting. I have a gun, too, and I don’t want people to get shot. I’m telling you right now, I got a gun, I’m at the Home Depot. … I’m about to get out. They’re following me, and I’m going to get out and start shooting bro. I have to. I have to,” Ramos said.

The CHP operator immediately looped in a BPD operator who spoke with Ramos. The BPD operator confirmed the same facts that Ramos told CHP. Ramos then told the BPD operator that he was armed with a .25 caliber Baretta pistol.

A .25 caliber Baretta is a compact pistol that can be easily concealed, according to BPD Lt. Derek Green, who presented the debrief video.

While Ramos was on the phone with the BPD operator, police were dispatched to the scene. The first officer located Ramos within 25 seconds of being dispatched. Shortly after, Ramos’ van was surrounded by police.

Other officers cleared the area of civilians, and shoppers at the Home Depot were made to stay inside during the altercation.

The operator then asked Ramos if he would safely comply with officers. “If an officer comes to talk to you to help, then are you able to keep that gun away from you, so that you can talk to the officers?” she asked.

“Hell no. … no ma’am,” Ramos replied, “Basically they’re trying to abduct me too,” he said. After a conversation with the operator, Ramos said he was not willing to exit the vehicle with his hands up, but as more officers arrived, he got out of the van, concealed his hands in his pockets, and said “Hey look, I got a gun. … I’m telling you right now, I got a … I do,” he said.

Police spoke with Ramos and told him “We are here to talk to you,” repeatedly ordering him to show them his hands and to face away. Ramos did not comply.

At one point, an additional officer took over communication and spoke to Ramos in both English and Spanish. Ramos remained outside of his vehicle for several minutes and continued to keep his right hand in his pants pocket. The standoff lasted about seven minutes in total.

“Officers then gained brief compliance from Mr. Ramos, when he put his hands in the air, lifted his shirt and began to walk backward toward them as requested. However, Mr. Ramos suddenly stopped following instructions and walked in front of a parked vehicle where he was concealed from the officer’s view,” Green said in the debrief video.

Officers continued to try to reason with Ramos. An officer asked for his trust and said, “We can’t help you if you’re back there.” The officer attempted to get information about Ramos’ daughter in an attempt to get him to comply peacefully.

After some time, “while partially hidden behind a parked vehicle, Mr. Ramos aggressively reached into his pants pocket,” Green said.

In response, a BPD officer attempted to subdue Ramos using a non-lethal “kinetic energy weapon,” which is less likely to result in death or serious injury, Green said. The kinetic energy munition is specifically designed to temporarily incapacitate a subject while allowing officers to remain a safe distance away, according to Green.

One kinetic energy round was fired at Ramos, impacting his upper torso.

“After being struck by the [kinetic energy] round, Mr. Ramos stood up and advanced toward the police officers while removing his right hand from his pocket. Mr. Ramos then extended his right hand and arm toward the police officers while holding a dark object as if it were a gun and took a shooting stance,” Green said. “Mr. Ramos’ aggressive actions, together with his threats of being armed with a gun and wanting to shoot people precipitated an officer involved shooting,” Green said.

Following the shooting, officers immediately rendered first aid until paramedics arrived. Ramos was transported to a local trauma center before succumbing to his injuries.

The object in Ramos’ hand was determined to be a black folding knife. A firearm was never found.

Ramos was later identified by law enforcement as a 47-year-old resident of Canoga Park. Ramos had been on parole for assault with a deadly weapon, police said.

“The Burbank Police Department provides very thorough use of force investigations, including all officer involved shootings. These investigations typically require multiple interviews, a review of all known audio and video recordings, and an analysis of physical and forensic evidence,” said Green, adding that the investigations can take several months to complete, and the investigation into Ramos’ death is still in the early stages.

In accordance with Assembly Bill 1506, the DOJ has assumed control of the investigation and will independently review this officer-involved shooting.

In addition to the DOJ investigation, the Burbank Police Department will continue to conduct an extensive investigation into the incident, which includes an administrative investigation of all evidence and facts by the BPD Internal Affairs Bureau, a comprehensive analysis by the BPD Critical Incident Review Board, and an independent analysis and review by an external oversight board, the Office of Independent Review.

First published in the July 15 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

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