Deputy shoots, wounds wanted gang member in Encinitas

A deputy shot and wounded a suspected burglar in Encinitas on Oct. 24, sheriff's official said.
A deputy shot and wounded a suspected burglar in Encinitas on Oct. 24, sheriff’s official said.
(Debbi Baker/San Diego Union-Tribune)

An armed gang member accused of carjacking a vehicle with a 7-year-old inside was shot and wounded by a deputy in Encinitas on Oct. 24, sheriff’s officials said.

When the car pulled over at the end of a short chase, the suspect jumped out and ran, then turned around and aimed a gun at a deputy running after him, sheriff’s homicide Lt. Kenn Nelson said. The deputy, whose name was not released, fired at least four shots.

Information released by sheriff’s officials on Oct. 25 was that Joseph Ramos, 35, has been released from a local hospital after receiving treatment for his injuries. Those injuries consist of a grazing bullet wound between the left chest and left bicep as well as a penetrating wound to the left ankle.

The sheriff’s official added that Ramos was booked into the San Diego Central Jail on charges of kidnapping, carjacking, being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm as well as on an outstanding felony warrant for residential burglary. Several additional charges are expected to be filed at a later date.

The child and father whose vehicle was carjacked were not hurt.

Ramos, who had a warrant out for his arrest, was wanted in a string of North County residential burglaries in which authorities said he stole firearms. Nelson said Ramos is a documented gang member, but did not say in which city Ramos lives.

On Oct, 24, deputies spotted him acting suspiciously shortly before 2:30 p.m. on Orchard Wood Road south of Olivehain Road, Nelson said. Deputies recognized him as a documented gang member and knew he was wanted.

“They thought he might be getting ready to commit another burglary,” Nelson said.

When deputies approached him, Ramos got into a black truck and drove off, leading deputies on a brief pursuit. They decided to slow down and follow him from a distance when the chase endangered other motorists, Nelson said.

Deputies caught up to Ramos at Rancho Santa Fe Road near Manchester Avenue, where they saw him get into a two-door Toyota Scion, Nelson said. At that point, deputies were unaware Ramos had carjacked the vehicle or that a 7-year-old was inside.

“They happened to get there just as the carjacking was being completed,” Nelson said.

The father, a 27-year-old man, later told investigators that Ramos confronted him in a parking lot as he was buckling his son into his car seat. Ramos pointed to a handgun in his waistband and demanded that the father drive him away from the area, Nelson said.

As they drove, Ramos pointed the gun at the driver several times, the victim told authorities.

Deputies followed the car and pulled it over on North Coast Highway 101 south of La Costa Avenue. Nelson said Ramos pointed the gun at the driver and his son, then got out of the front passenger side and ran, with at least one deputy chasing him.

About 50 feet from the car, Ramos turned around and aimed a gun at the deputy who ran after him, Nelson said. The deputy fired and struck Ramos. Investigators don’t believe Ramos fired his gun.

Deputies took Ramos into custody and provided first aid until paramedics arrived. He was taken to a hospital and was expected to survive.

A handgun was recovered and seen in the dirt shoulder of the northbound lanes of North Coast Highway 101 across from Bar Leucadian, just west of the train tracks in the area.

Jennifer Cushing owns a Carlsbad pizza company and was delivering an order at Bar Leucadian when she heard sirens blaring outside.

She looked out of a window and saw a silver car that was stopped by a deputy in a sheriff’s SUV. Other motorists had pulled over to get out of the way, Cushing said.

She noticed the driver of the car and a young boy in the backseat put up their hands as a man covered in tattoos ran out of the front passenger seat. The suspect had a duffel bag in his left hand and an object that appeared to be a gun in his right hand, Cushing said. The deputy chased the suspect, repeatedly instructing him to get on the ground, she said.

The suspect looked over his right shoulder several times and did not see the deputy, who was running at an angle to the left of him, Cushing said. After ignoring eight or 10 orders, the suspect turned around and faced the deputy, who opened fire, she said, adding that it appeared the deputy was shooting at the ground.

Cushing said she head five or six gunshots and that she did not see the suspect aim the gun at the deputy.

The suspect collapsed and rolled back and forth on his stomach before he was handcuffed. Other deputies who had arrived began cutting his clothes to find his wounds and provide first aid, Cushing said.

The driver of the car walked with a deputy to a patrol vehicle while another deputy carried the boy out of the car.

“The most emotional part was seeing the officers go to the silver vehicle, get that young boy out and get him to safety,” Cushing said.

— David Hernandez, Debbi Baker and Teri Figueroa write for The San Diego Union-Tribune. Chris Saur from the Encinitas Advocate contributed to this report.