The Los Angeles Police Department arrested Joshua Ramos today in the neighborhood of Pico-Union in Los Angeles after a standoff that resulted in the death of an unidentified woman.
According to LAPD, Joshua Ramos, 35, had beaten the woman, who was believed to be homeless, with an aluminum baseball bat after ingesting narcotics and barricading himself inside his home. Eight residents were reportedly told to evacuate their homes to a safer area as SWAT teams moved in.
Armored trucks arrived to block off the Pico-Union neighborhood. Joshua Ramos was arrested at 1:30 p.m. in an alley outside his house. The standoff lasted five hours after authorities responded to reports of an assault with a deadly weapon at the 2300 block of Venice Boulevard at 8:05 a.m.
“We have an active barricaded suspect in Olympic Division,” the LAPD alerted people on Twitter. “We have a PIO [Public Information Officer] en route.”
Officers on the scene found the woman suffering from “very significant blunt force trauma to the head,” and rushed her to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center where she was later pronounced dead. Her identity was not released.
Images from Fox News showed five officers with their guns drawn lining up to enter Joshua Ramos’ house and take him in custody following lengthy negotiations and SWAT tactics.
The motive for Joshua Ramos’ attack remains unknown but Lieutenant John Radtke said that the suspect was acting “erratic.” People in the neighborhood said that they saw him smashing windows and causing damage to other’s property. “He was a real active threat to everyone,” Lieutenant Radtke said.
“We strongly believe he is under the influence of a narcotic and has been for many days,” Deputy Chief Blake Chow told Fox 11 News, “which is kind of fueling kind of irrational behavior.”
Besides this belief of a drug-fueled rampage from the LAPD, no information as to why the suspect killed the woman, or what happened to make him act so erratically, has been released. At a press conference at 2 p.m. following the arrest, authorities said that they were unsure if Ramos knew the victim, or had any sort of relationship with her. They set his bail at $2 million pending an investigation into suspicion of murder.
Fernando Meza, a resident of the neighborhood who was woken up by the sounds of a cop car and ambulance sirens Wednesday morning, told the authorities that he and Joshua Ramos were previously friends when they were in high school together. He said that Ramos had lived in his current house since his childhood and that he would often come over to play video games with him.
“We grew up together, we used to skateboard on this street after school, build ramps, flirt with the neighborhood girls,” Fernando Meza said. “He was one of the only kids who had a computer so we would go play video games and did teenager stuff.”
In the city of Los Angeles, 141 people have been murdered so far this year, continuing to outpace the crime rates of 2019 and 2020.
“Our challenge continues to be shooting violence, homicides, persons experiencing homelessness, as well as those involved in street violence,” LAPD Police Chief Michel Moore said. “This last week was also the beginning of our violent crime initiative to strengthen our existing strategies in both community engagement and outreach, as well as in added patrols for the apprehension of violent offenders.”
According to data provided by the LAPD, the past month saw a spike in murders in Los Angeles, with 46 reported in July alone. The staggering figure is the highest the city has seen in over a decade.