Vet in Cameron Park standoff talks from behind bars | News
EL DORADO COUNTY, CA - He held sheriff's deputies at bay and forced his neighborhood to be evacuated for hours, but even so, neighbors said their hearts went out to him.
Thirty-eight-year-old Miguel Ramirez remains in jail, charged with stabbing a teenager then forcing a standoff with officers.
Witnesses say the teen's injury was not serious, but Ramirez's situation is.
Cameras weren't allowed inside the El Dorado County Jail when News10 report Gabriel Roxas sat down with Miguel Ramirez during visiting hours. The Marine veteran, who served in Afghanistan, requested an interview after initially turning down the station's request to talk.
Last week, Ramirez locked himself inside his Cameron Park home after officers responded to a call of an assault with a deadly weapon.
The scene was something neighbor Frances Lopez couldn't have imagined last fall when she first met the man she described as a nice guy.
"My son is also in the military and was over in Afghanistan, so we discussed that a little bit," Lopez recalled.
But as the months passed, Lopez says Ramirez's behavior became more erratic.
"I think when you go over there, and you have to face that, it's going to be different with everybody," Lopez said.
During the interview, Ramirez said he had been receiving treatment for post-traumatic-stress-disorder. He said medication and the use of a therapy dog provided some help, but after he moved from the Bay Area to Cameron Park last fall, during the search for a new doctor, he let his therapy regimen lapse and eventually stopped taking medication.
Ramirez also admitted that last week's standoff wasn't his first arrest. There was a similar incident last Thanksgiving.
"Some kids were in the back of his house. I guess they were smoking marijuana and drinking and throwing the bottles over in his yard. He thought they were bombs. He reacted of jumping the fence and I guess hitting one of the kids, and I guess that's why he ended up in jail," Lopez said.
Ramirez says the field behind his home is a trouble spot where young people gather. He says one even threw glass at his therapy dog.
"There's a presence here that we're not real thrilled with. There will be cops pulling in, checking out this and that on a fairly regular basis," said Laura Mack, who works nearby.
Ramirez said he often gets confused and falls back on military instincts to protect his environment. He believes that's what led him to lash out in both incidents.
In jail, Ramirez says he has resumed taking medication, and he hopes to enter a treatment program that can help him with his PTSD. He also said he hopes others who may experience similar problems will get the help they need toobefore they let things get out of control like he did last week.
"My heart definitely goes out to him and his family, absolutely. I mean when you go over there," Lopez said, referring to Afghanistan, "I can't imagine."
by Gabriel Roxas, GRoxas@news10.net