Local News

March 24, 2014

40-hour manhunt ends with shooting suspect in custody

After struggling with law enforcement officers at a Marietta apartment and getting shot with a stun gun, murder suspect Orlando “Smiley” Ramirez is in custody in the Whitfield County jail, officials said.

Ramirez, 20, is charged with homicide and two counts of aggravated assault for the shooting death of Bruno Rodriguez, a 28-year-old security guard at Las Delicias nightclub on East Morris Street in Dalton early Sunday morning, and for shooting a second security guard in the neck and leg.

Ramirez was arrested at the Harmony Meadows apartment complex at 1910 South Cobb Drive in Marietta, according to a press release from the Dalton Police Department. Detectives developed leads on Ramirez’s location and contacted the U.S. Marshals’ Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force and the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office for assistance. When law officers knocked on the door of the apartment at about 4:30 p.m. Monday, Ramirez answered.

Ramirez struggled briefly and was shot with the stun gun before officers got him under control, according to the release. No officers were hurt.

Ramirez’s girlfriend, Alexa Jiminez, 18, is charged with hindering the apprehension or punishment of a criminal. The release states she “lied several times to investigators about having contact with Ramirez and other factors that helped him evade capture.”

Other records

Ramirez, whose last known address was 209 Beulah Drive in Dalton, is no stranger to police.

According to information on the Georgia Department of Corrections website, Ramirez was released April 1, 2013, from Ware State Prison after being sentenced to 10 years for convictions in Whitfield County stemming from “gang participation” crimes in 2010 and 2011. Officials have said Ramirez was arrested at least five times in Dalton for a variety of offenses, including connections to a stabbing and to painting graffiti on the Glenwood Avenue Kmart. Whether he was convicted for each of his arrests wasn’t immediately clear.

Two other men — Juvencio Vega-Garcia, 20, and Fernando Antonio Resendiz, 21, both of Whitfield County — have been charged as homicide accessories to the crime at Las Delicias. At a first appearance hearing in Whitfield County Magistrate Court Monday afternoon for both, several individuals who said they were friends and family members of the two were upset with the charges.

Three individuals who declined to be named but said they were cousins and a brother of Resendiz, said Resendiz had gone to the bar that night to see a friend’s performance. They said Ramirez had taken a small handgun that was in Resendiz’s vehicle unbeknownst to Resendiz, whom they said had a license to carry firearms, and used it that night. They said Resendiz didn’t know Ramirez except in passing and that Ramirez jumped inside a vehicle with Resendiz after the shootings and they drove for at least a short time at Ramirez’s command. They say that unlike what police have said about Ramirez, Resendiz isn’t a gang member. They say Vega-Garcia likewise only happened to be at the bar that night.

Dalton Police Department spokesman Bruce Frazier said that because of the ongoing investigation he can’t address all of those assertions, but investigators disagree with at least part of that version of events.

“Our investigation has developed information that contradicts that story, but I can’t really comment on it further,” Frazier said.

Police have said Ramirez tried to get inside the bar, was denied entrance because of his age, and then produced a gun.

“Ramirez ran backwards into the parking lot, and Bruno Rodriguez attempted to tackle Ramirez,” according to a news release from the police department. “Ramirez shot Rodriguez in the head and killed him. Ramirez then tried to chase (the second security guard) and shot him again, hitting him in the neck. (The security guard) was able to run away. Orlando Ramirez then attempted to enter the bar, but the door had been locked from inside.”

Officials said Vega-Garcia ran and got back inside a car parked in front of the building during the shooting, and Resendiz pulled away in the car before circling back to pick up Ramirez.

A magistrate court judge sent Resendiz’s and Vega-Garcia’s cases to Superior Court for consideration, but information on when a bond hearing might be held wasn’t immediately available. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the men had attorneys.

Ramirez is expected to have a first appearance hearing in Magistrate Court within the next day or two.

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