Los Angeles police arrested a 35-year-old man Wednesday following an hours-long standoff after the suspect, in a narcotics-fueled rampage, allegedly beat a woman to death in his neighborhood using a metal baseball bat and barricaded himself inside his home several blocks away.
At least eight residents were evacuated from homes in the Pico-Union neighborhood, and police SWAT teams and armored trucks lined the block, until Joshua Ramos was brought into custody at about 1:30 p.m. in an alleyway behind a single-story house where he’s reportedly lived since high school.
The about five-hour ordeal began around 8:15 a.m. when officers first responded to the 2300 block of Venice Boulevard in Harvard Heights to a report about an assault with a deadly weapon. A woman was found suffering from “very significant blunt force trauma to the head,” and officers also recovered an aluminum bat from the scene, police said.
The woman was rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead, Patch reported. Her identity was not immediately released, though police officials who provided updates to reporters staged nearby after the standoff said she might have been homeless, KTLA reported.
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Los Angeles police displayed the mugshot of Joshua Ramos, a suspect in a reported assault with a deadly weapon. (Photo: FOX 11 KTTV) (FOX 11 KTTV)
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Los Angeles police respond to a suspect barricaded inside a home. (Photo: FOX 11 KTTV) (FOX 11 KTTV)
Detectives believe Ramos attacked the woman before running back to his home near the intersection of West 20th Street and South Mariposa Avenue and barricading himself inside.
The motive for the attack remains under investigation, but Lt. John Radtke said the suspect was exhibiting “erratic behavior in the neighborhood,” and neighbors told KTLA that Ramos could be seen smashing windows and damaging property early that morning.
“We strongly believe he is under the influence of a narcotic and has been for many days, which is kind of fueling kind of irrational behavior,” Deputy Chief Blake Chow said, according to Fox 11 Los Angeles.
Footage broadcast from a news helicopter over the scene showed officers in tactical gear outside the front door. Traffic was rerouted from the area, and police set up a command post on the block, as officers attempted to negotiate with the suspect, LAPD Officer Tony Im said.
The Los Angeles Police Department also tweeted about “an active barricaded suspect in Olympic Division.”
Holding a press conference around 2 p.m., officials announced the suspect was taken into custody in an alleyway and identified him as Ramos, a resident of the home, KABC reported. He was being held on suspicion of murder pending further investigation. Authorities did not disclose whether Ramos knew the victim or if he had any relationship with the woman.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department online records list his bail at $2 million.
Fernando Meza, a neighbor who woke up Wednesday to the sound of sirens on his block, told Fox 11 he went to school with Ramos and used to play videogames at Ramos’ house as a teenager.