Sentencing set for man who fired at police

By Peter H. Milliken


A man who fired at police during a chase, and was shot by a task force officer in Youngstown the next day, is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday on federal charges and to enter a plea Wednesday on state charges.

Luis Cruz-Ramos, 31, will be sentenced at 11 a.m. Tuesday by U.S. District Court Judge Christopher A. Boyko, after his guilty plea to assault on a federal officer, possession of a firearm in connection with an offense of violence and failure to register as a sex offender.

The U.S. attorney has agreed to drop a charge of being a felon in possession of ammunition.

Ramos than will have a 1:30 p.m. Wednesday plea hearing in Youngstown before Judge John M. Durkin of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court on 10 counts of felonious assault against police, six of them with firearm specifications, resisting arrest with a firearm specification, and one count each of failure to comply with a police order and illegal gun possession.

The felonious assault counts name Boardman, Youngstown and Campbell police officers as victims.

Ramos bolted from Campbell police March 31, when they tried to arrest him on a warrant from Puerto Rico on the charge of failure to register.

He then led police on a chase that stopped on Interstate 680 south near a Boardman cemetery.

During the chase, Ramos rammed Campbell police cruisers and fired from his van at least twice on Youngstown police, once hitting a cruiser, and another time firing at officers trying to put stop sticks on the freeway. There were no injuries in the chase.

Ramos jumped out of his van and eluded a massive manhunt until the next day, when U.S. marshals saw him walking in the Maywood Drive area on the city’s South Side.

Ramos fled from the marshals on foot and pointed a loaded gun toward them during the chase, according to Ramos’ federal plea agreement.

A member of the marshals’ task force shot Ramos in the leg before Ramos was arrested and officers recovered Ramos’ gun, the agreement says.

Ramos had been on the run from law enforcement since April 2013, when Puerto Rican authorities charged him with failing to register as a sex offender after his 2010 conviction for sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl he was dating.

Based on his guilty pleas in the federal case, Ramos faces a maximum federal prison term of 65 years.

Minimum federal prison terms of five years apply for possessing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence and for failure to register as a sex offender, the plea agreement says.

“His actions stemmed from panic, not from a violent temperament,” Ramos’ federal public defenders wrote in a sentencing memorandum.

That memorandum argues for a sentence “sufficient, but not greater than necessary to achieve the stated purposes of punishment.”

The memorandum said Ramos believed the girl he was dating was 18 and that he fled from Puerto Rico to Ohio after receiving death threats from fellow jail inmates in Puerto Rico.

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