On Oct. 15, 2008, a U.S. Postal Service letter carrier flagged down two police officers working the Olympic Area transition team. The mail carrier had been hit in the head by Romeo Ramos after requesting that Mr. Ramos sign a certified mail receipt. As the officers were attempting to detain him, Mr. Ramos pulled a knife and attempted to stab one of the officers. They drew their weapons and he immediately turned and walked into his apartment building.
Despite the assault with a deadly weapon, the officers showed great restraint in not shooting the suspect because he was no longer an immediate threat to the officers and was fleeing. LAPD SWAT responded and a seven-hour standoff ensued. During the standoff, the suspect engaged in defiant and bizarre behavior. He showered officers with multiple items, including a vacuum cleaner, marbles and a large wooden box. He then threatened to kill the officers, and he threw a knife at a group of three officers, narrowly missing them.
When negotiations failed and Mr. Ramos was still unwilling to surrender, SWAT officers attempted to arrest him. The defiant Mr. Ramos then doused the officers with lighter fluid and set fire to the top of the stairway the officers were on. The officers quickly devised a plan and were able to extinguish the fire. Mr. Ramos repeatedly threatened to kill the officers and proceeded to barricade himself in an apartment. He armed himself with additional knives. The highly skilled SWAT officers utilized specialized less lethal weapons to neutralize the defendant and take him into custody.
One of the officers attempting to safely resolve this standoff using less lethal tools was Robert J. Cottle, an LAPD SWAT officer and U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Major who was killed in the line of duty in March 2010 while serving in Afghanistan. On June 29, 2012, through the tenacious efforts of Deputy District Attorney Frank M. Tavelman of the L.A. County District Attorney's Crimes Against Peace Officers Section (CAPOS), a jury convicted Mr. Ramos of attempted murder of a police officer, assault with a deadly weapon on four police officers, assault with a deadly weapon on a civilian, and arson of an inhabited structure.
We express our thanks to the CAPOS unit and the fine legal team that District Attorney Steve Cooley has assembled to prosecute those who harm police officers. While their work often goes unnoticed, it is greatly appreciated.
Because the involved officers' actions did not result in sensational news headlines, the media did not cover this case. However, we recognize that the restraint, excellent performance and tactics of all the officers involved four years ago is an example of the unnoticed but outstanding work LAPD officers deliver every day to the residents of Los Angeles.
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