WASCO, Calif. (KERO) — The Kern County Sheriff's Office released body camera footage from July 25th that shows the hostage situation that led to five people being killed including a KCSO deputy.
The hours-long standoff began shortly after 1 p.m. that day with multiple agencies including Kern County Sheriff’s Office, SWAT, and the California Highway Patrol responding to a residence. Upon law enforcement's arrival the suspect, identified as Jose Manuel Ramirez began shooting.
It’s important to note that three victims inside the residence - a mother and her two sons - were already dead when deputies arrived.
Video from a neighbor’s camera shows the moments leading up to one of the victim shootings where a young man tries to run from the residence and out a gate but is shot by Ramirez before escaping.
Officers continued to establish a perimeter, not knowing the three victims inside the house had already been killed.
Ramirez made multiple calls to 9-1-1 dispatch during the standoff, asking for an ambulance and saying his son had been shot. The dispatcher tries to keep Ramirez on the line, asking for more information about the situation inside the residence. Meanwhile, officers outside the house called out to the suspect in English and Spanish in an attempt at a peaceful surrender.
Officers began closing in, forming a hostage rescue team, still believing there were people in danger inside.
Ramirez immediately began shooting at them with SWAT team members returning fire. In all, two SWAT members were injured by shots, and two others were hit by shrapnel.
The video shows emotions running high as deputies rushed to the aid of injured colleagues.
The SWAT team continued to attempt communication with Ramirez who is seen observing the situation in the same area where he had shot his son earlier while holding a rifle in his hands.
Later, aerial video shows the suspect climbing onto the home’s roof with even more weapons. Shots were fired again and Ramirez is struck and is seen hanging off the side of the roof.
Ramirez was pronounced dead at the scene after medical aid is attempted and law enforcement recover the bodies of the victims inside. They were identified as Viviana Ruiz Ramirez (42), Jose Manuel Ramirez III (24), and Angel Manuel Ramirez (17).
The two deputies shot at the scene were rushed to a hospital. Deputy Philip Campas succumbed to his injuries there while Senior Deputy Dizander Guerrero was later treated and released.
A September 7th review of the incident by the Kern County Sheriff’s Office found the use of force, in this case, was determined to be within department policy.
GRAPHIC WARNING: Some viewers may find the following video disturbing: