Monday, May 23, 2011

Some Thoughts on The Bryan Stow Suspect Capture

I am indeed excited that the LAPD is claiming they have caught one of Bryan Stow's assailants. Admittedly, the circumstantial evidence about this alleged suspect is definitely curious:

According to a source with knowledge of the investigation, the parole agent met with [31-year-old Giovanni] Ramirez for a mandatory check-in meeting shortly after the attack. By then, the LAPD had released sketches of the two assailants, and the agent noticed that Ramirez bore a resemblance to one of the men.

It is unclear whether the agent voiced his suspicions to LAPD detectives right away. But it wasn't until last week that police became focused on Ramirez. After police questioned a different parolee and determined he was not involved, Ramirez's agent, either speaking up for the first time or reiterating his beliefs, expressed his suspicions about Ramirez, the source said.

Ramirez was summoned back to the office for another meeting last week. When he arrived, the agent noticed he had recently added several tattoos, which covered a part of his neck, the source said. Authorities reasoned that Ramirez was trying to cover up an older tattoo in case a witness had seen the tattoo and described it to police.

Circumstantial suspicions turned into something much more solid when, after the meeting, witnesses to the beating picked Ramirez from a selection of photographs shown to them by detectives, the source said.

While detectives continued to work on the case against Ramirez and sought a search warrant for the Mariposa Avenue apartment, a surveillance team tailed Ramirez around the clock from Friday until Sunday morning, when he was taken into custody, police sources said.

There are indications that Ramirez tried to use the Mariposa apartment to keep a low profile after the beating. The building manager said Ramirez wasn't a longtime resident and had been seen coming and going only in the last few months. The manager said a woman, her husband, their two adult children, and the woman's brother lived in the two-bedroom unit. It was not immediately known what relationship Ramirez has to the family.

Recently altered tattoos, laying low in a new residence, and apparently a long record of prior violations (I couldn't find this reference but I recall reading this last point over the weekend; Ramona Shelburne of wrote that neighbors believed he was a member of local gangs, and Rob has the link on Ramirez' background.). Maybe the LAPD has gotten its man, and closure to this horrible tragedy is soon at hand? Dodger part-owner Frank McCourt certainly insinuates as much:

On behalf of the Dodger organization and our fans, I want to extend our most sincere appreciation and 'thank you' to Chief Charlie Beck and the men and women of the Los Angeles Police Department. From the outset, the Chief made an unwavering commitment to do everything possible to find and apprehend the suspects in the brutal and cowardly attack that took place against Mr. Stow on Opening Day.

From that point forward, I gave my word to Chief Beck that he would have the full support of everyone at the Dodgers and we have worked in close partnership with the LAPD on this matter. We pledge our continued cooperation with law enforcement authorities during the prosecution phase that will ensue."

I share everyone's excitement at what appears to be forward progress on this case, though there are still suspects (a fellow assailant, and the reported female getaway driver) still at large. And I have to say, before I feel like there's closure on this case, I really hope that the LAPD has caught the right guy. Can you imagine if this isn't the right suspect? That would be even more deflating than the months that have gone by with unrewarded efforts.

It's hard for me to think of this case as having any type of closure until we know. I'm crossing my fingers.