June 18, 2013
Kern County Sheriff's Office California
Cause of death: Choking
Follow This Case
Last updated: over 3 years ago
For the second time in just over a month, a man has died in the custody of the Kern County Sheriff's Department. Officers report ambulance personnel found two baggies in the man's throat. That was the second time an ambulance was called out to respond. Wilfredo Ramos, 25, died in the Memorial Hospital emergency room around 11:30 p.m. Monday. By late Tuesday, the Kern County coroner's office reported an autopsy had been done, but toxicology studies still have to be completed to determine cause of death. Friends said Ramos was known as "Willy" and described him as a nice kid.
Sheriff officials said it was about 9:30 p.m. when deputies encountered Ramos in the 1900 block of South J Street. The officers were there to arrest another person on a felony warrant, which they did, according to a sheriff's sergeant on scene early Tuesday.
Sheriff's spokesman Ray Pruitt later said deputies then spotted Ramos near a travel trailer, and they were suspicious of his activity, so they tried to contact him. "The deputies saw Ramos holding a baggie that they believed may contain illegal narcotics and drug paraphernalia," a sheriff's statement says that was issued Tuesday night. Ramos ran, according to Pruitt. Ramos reportedly tossed something on the ground while being chased, but Pruitt said he wasn't clear on what it was.
Ramos reportedly ran about 50 feet more, then turned and confronted the officers. "After running a short distance Ramos stopped, turned toward the deputies, raised his fists and attempted to hit them," the sheriff's report reads. Deputies struggled with him on the ground, Pruitt said, but did not use batons, pepper spray or a Taser. Ramos was cuffed and put in the back of a patrol car, and an ambulance was called because Ramos had a scratched head, according to Pruitt. Ramos reportedly declined medical aid when the ambulance arrived.
A little while later, a deputy noticed Ramos was having "medical complications," so a deputy took the handcuffs off, put Ramos on the ground and started CPR, Pruitt said. The ambulance was called back. Ramos was having trouble getting air, and the ambulance crew found two plastic baggies in Ramos' throat, according to Pruitt. They also found residue possibly from drugs, the sheriff's office spokesman said.
A neighbor who only wanted to give her first name said she saw the incident. "When my daughter was following behind me, she said she (saw) an officer smash someone's head on the floor," Janet said. "We were just watching the whole time, we (saw) an ambulance come out."