Laramie man killed by deputy
By Daniel Bendtsen
Via Wyoming News Exchange
LARAMIE — A deputy from the Albany County Sheriff’s Office fatally shot a man Sunday on Garfield Street between 21st and 22nd streets.
The deputy involved has been placed on administrative leave and the Division of Criminal Investigation is now conducting an investigation.
DCI operations commander Ronnie Jones declined to provide more information about the incident. Neither he, nor the sheriff’s office, nor Albany County Attorney Peggy Trent have been willing to confirm the name of the deputy involved.
Long-time Laramie resident Doris Bunn-Manfull said the victim of the shooting was her grandson, Robbie Ramirez, who she said was unarmed.
Bunn-Manfull said Ramirez, who was schizophrenic, was being pulled over for a traffic violation.
She said the deputy who killed the 39-year-old Ramirez was aware of his mental illness.
“(Robbie) was so paranoid about police that he took off and ran to his apartment where he felt safe,” she said.
“We are so angry,” she said. “We want justice. … Something’s got to stop this kind of thing from happening to people who are so mentally ill.”
Trent said some unofficial accounts of the incident are not accurate. However, she said her code of ethics prevents her from releasing more information about the shooting.
Any decision to prosecute, she said, will be made after determining whether the deputy’s actions were justified.
Ramirez’s mother Debbie Hinkel, said she received no information when she arrived at the scene Sunday.
It wasn’t until she arrived at Ivinson Memorial Hospital that it was confirmed Ramirez was the victim.
“I still haven’t been able to see him,” she said.
Hinkel chairs Albany County’s mental health board and said it appears officials are “holding some of this (information) back because of the election.”
Despite Ramirez’s death, Hinkel said Trent and Sheriff David O’Malley have been “very supportive of the mental health community and trying to do something that helps people.”
Hinkel said she’s sure Trent is “doing a thorough investigation” and stressed Ramirez’s death was the fault of “one police officer and not the whole force.”
The Wyoming branch of the American Civil Liberties Union released a statement Monday, urging “the Albany County Sheriff’s Office to make sure the fear and distrust that has already come from this shooting is addressed publicly and immediately.”
“The residents of Laramie, along with the family of the Robbie Ramirez, deserve to know what happened in this latest tragic incident,” the ACLU says. “The investigation should be transparent and done in a timely manner. We have asked that the sheriff’s office release the name of the officer involved in the shooting, along with any body and/or dash camera footage of the incident. Additionally, if the officer involved has been previously involved in police shootings, the sheriff’s office must engage in a comprehensive and public review of hiring practices so Laramie residents can have some assurance this will never happen again.”