A woman who was stabbed with a screwdriver while she unsuccessfully fought to save her husband from a pair of home invaders described Tuesday’s deadly crime spree in Las Vegas as “total terror.”
Julie Ramos escaped the attack with bruises and stab wounds, but her 59-year-old husband, Richard Ramos, was shot dead when he was unable to wrest a gun away from the intruders.
Police later shot and killed Cody David Winters, 27, and arrested his 35-year-old accomplice, Natasha Galenn Jackson, on suspicion of murder, attempted murder, burglary, kidnapping and other charges, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
“I want everyone to know that Richard Ramos is the greatest guy in the world, and I don’t want anyone to think he died in vain,” Julie Ramos said at a news conference Wednesday. “He saved his family like the lion that he was.”
Police said the crimes began at about 6:30 a.m. Tuesday, when Jackson and Winters who’s also known as “Havoc” carjacked a freeway service vehicle that had stopped to help them on the side of the U.S. 95 freeway.
The driver of the roadside assistance vehicle thought the couple needed help. Instead, the duo pulled out a gun and robbed the worker of personal items, including a cellphone, and forced him to drive to a neighborhood about 3 miles east of the Las Vegas Strip, according to the police report. They let him leave, and he contacted police, according to Las Vegas Police Dept. Capt. Matt McCarthy, who addressed the media.
‘Total Terror, Trauma, Violation’
Meanwhile, according to the Las Vegas Sun and other sources, Jackson told police she and Winters knocked on the Ramos family’s door and then pulled out a gun once they got inside. Jackson told police that she and Winters wanted to steal a car from the family.
Richard Ramos tried to grab the gun from Winters’ hands, Jackson said, and Ramos’ wife tried to help him in the struggle.
Jackson told police she stabbed Julie Ramos with a screwdriver and Winters got control of the gun, eventually shooting Richard Ramos, who died at a hospital.
Police said two of the Ramoses’ children witnessed the attack.
The ordeal was “total terror, trauma, violation,” Julie Ramos said. “I felt raped. I had to fight for my life. My husband fought for us to the bitter end. He was shot. He was stabbed. We saw it.”
Crime Spree Continues
The invaders then left the Ramos home and tried to break into two other homes. McCarthy said Winters entered another house and shot a woman there.
Winters “broke out a window and entered the residence,” a release from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said. “While inside he confronted a couple and demanded their keys. The male homeowner complied and the suspect proceeded to shoot the female homeowner. The male homeowner fled from the residence and advised officers that his girlfriend had been shot.”
“Officers positioned in front of the residence observed the male suspect exit the front door holding the injured woman. The suspect was yelling and threatening to kill her. The victim fell to the ground and Officer Rotta fired at the suspect causing him to stumble back into an alcove near the front door. The suspect walked back toward the edge of the house and Officer Rotta fired once again. The suspect refused commands to surrender and finally came to rest near the side of the house,” the release said.
The woman shot in the second home was taken to the hospital in critical condition, according to McCarthy.
Winters was convicted of driving under the influence in Idaho four times, and he’s been in and out of prison several times since 2007. He also has battery and drug convictions, according to Idaho court records.
Ramos was a hardworking father of four who grew up in New York and worked as a salesman for a packaging company, according to his sister-in-law, Kim Johnston. The family has opened an account to accept donations for his survivors.
They also sounded a warning Wednesday.
“Please don’t ever open your door for anybody,” Julie Ramos said. “I sound so awful, but look what’s happened. It happened to me.”