A drug dealer shoots two policemen during a raid, then flees while out on bail.
Acting on a tip in February of 1989, detectives in Oakland, California, staked out a liquor store parking lot. They watched as a suspected drug dealer named Roberto Ramirez conducted a sale. Ramirez was no ordinary dealer. He distributed cocaine from Oakland to Los Angeles. According to former Oakland Police Detective Clint Ojala, word on the street was that Ramirez would do absolutely anything for money:
Days later, after obtaining a search warrant, police converged on the Ramirez home. Oakland and Fairfield officers were in on the raid. No one knew what to expect from Ramirez. Marc Burrell was part of the Oakland police team:
Det. Mark Smith of the Fairfield Police Department:
At 1:42 A.M., the raid came down. As the authorities pried open the iron gate and kicked in the door, Ramirez suddenly appeared at a side window and began shooting. Two officers were hit. Severely injured, Detective Smith was dragged from the line of fire. Officer Burrell took refuge under Ramirez’s window. Burrell said that when the shooting stopped, he was helped by other officers to a patrol car:
But the other officer wasn’t so lucky. Detective Smith was bleeding and had to be quickly evacuated to a waiting ambulance.
Using a bull horn, the police urged Ramirez to surrender. But he stayed put. Reinforcements arrived from eight other police departments until 30 heavily armed officers surrounded the house.
After a two-hour standoff, Ramirez finally came out, hiding behind his wife, who was eight months pregnant, and their children, ages 10 and 6. According to Det. Ojala, it was a tense moment for everyone:
Thankfully, Roberto Ramirez surrendered peacefully. He was arrested on two counts of attempted murder, as well as a laundry list of drug and assault charges. Ramirez was released after posting bail of one million dollars. Six months later, just before his trial, he and his wife packed up their children and disappeared. They’re still on the run.
Marc Burrell eventually recovered from the shooting, but not completely:
Detective Mark Smith’s wounds were more serious: