YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Burton family has been through it all in the last two days. Bill, a police officer, and Lorie, a paramedic, both experienced a chance encounter with Luis Cruz Ramos, the sexual assault suspect who led police on a chase and manhunt this past week.
Bill Burton is the Youngstown police officer who was nearly shot by Ramos after the fugitive fired at Bill’s cruiser during the chase.
“I felt something cross my face, and the windshield blew out. It happened that fast, so you really didn’t have time to process anything,” Bill said.
Ramos’ bullet hit the driver’s side windshield of the police cruiser. Bill says he didn’t even try to duck out of the way.
“It’s just…God’s grace and the Ford engineers,” he said. “How I was sitting and the way the car was designed, I was just far enough back, so it wasn’t going to hit anything.”
That bullet hole was not the end of Bill’s work day.
“After that, I just got angry and at that point, it was, ‘We need to get this guy,’” he said. “I reengaged in the pursuit as fast as I could.”
Lorie found out hours later that Ramos shot at her husband.
“Bill had sent me a text and said, ‘I’m okay, that was me, I’ll be home late,’” she said.
“Channel 27, you guys were taking photos of the cruiser, and I knew the car number was in it,” Bill said. “Chief Lees was standing next to me and he was like, ‘You might want to tell your wife what’s going on.’”
When she got home, Bill was already asleep.
“I went over to check his head to make sure he was okay, and I gave him a kiss and let him sleep because I knew he was exhausted.”
The story doesn’t end there for the Burton family. Lorie happened to be one of the paramedics who cared for Ramos after he was apprehended by police the next day.
“We get there and it was business as usual,” she said. “You are taking care of a patient, you are not taking care of a person who did this. You’re taking care of a person who has an injury, you’re taking care of someone who is in pain.”
“I know it was emotional for her. I absolutely know that inside she had to be in complete turmoil…but she knew she had to do what needed to be done,” Bill said.
“Mentally, it’s a lot of God’s grace,” Lorie said. “You have to, at that point, grasp onto everything that makes you a good person.”
Lorie cared for Ramos until they got to the hospital, when she let him know what he did.
“I looked at him and I said, ‘The officer you shot at the other night was my husband, the father of five children.’ He looked at me and I said, ‘By God’s grace, he was protected from your bullets and by God’s grace, I forgive you.’ And they wheeled him out and I never spoke another word to him.”
As of Saturday evening, Ramos had not yet been booked into Mahoning County Jail.