A man accused of carjacking a father and young son before being shot by a sheriff’s deputy in Encinitas on Oct. 24 is a gang member who spent years in prison for a string of violent North County home invasion robberies and burglaries, records show.
Joseph Martin Ramos, 35, was wanted by authorities for a recent burglary series in the area at the time of Monday’s shooting. Ramos, who also goes by “Joey,” was hospitalized after one of the deputy’s rounds grazed his chest and upper arm and a second one hit his left ankle.
He was booked into jail Oct. 25 on charges of kidnapping, carjacking, being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, and a burglary warrant, sheriff’s homicide unit Lt. Kenn Nelson said.
Ramos and an accomplice pleaded guilty in 2004 to three of 19 felony counts that included binding one home robbery victim with duct tape. Another victim testified to being robbed at gunpoint.
Ramos got a 12-year prison sentence. It wasn’t immediately clear how much of that time he served, but a sheriff’s official said he was not currently on parole.
Ramos was charged in three separate crimes in 2002, including a 2003 felony conviction for possession of drugs and a gun.
In the past few months, Ramos was suspected of committing several home break-ins around North County in which guns were stolen, sheriff’s officials said. Escondido police obtained a warrant for his arrest in one of their cases.
Warrant documents said Ramos threatened some homeowners with a gun. He is suspected of confronting a contractor at gunpoint inside one Escondido home and chasing him on Oct. 3. In some of the burglaries, home surveillance cameras caught images of the suspect, since identified as Ramos.
Deputies in Encinitas were aware of the warrant when they saw him on Orchard Wood Road about 2:30 p.m. on Oct. 24, Nelson said.
“They thought he might be getting ready to commit another burglary,” Nelson said.
He said Ramos took off in a black pickup. Deputies backed off on a pursuit because it became dangerous, but kept following him.
Nelson said Ramos abandoned his truck at Rancho Santa Fe Road and Manchester Street, ran into a parking lot and carjacked a silver two-door Toyota Scion. The owner, a 27-year-old man, was buckling his 7-year-old into a back car seat. The victim later told deputies Ramos pointed to a handgun tucked into his waistband and demanded to be driven away.
Deputies saw the Scion leaving, so they trailed it, Nelson said. They pulled it over on North Coast Highway 101 south of La Costa Avenue.
Nelson said Ramos jumped out, pointed his pistol at the father and son, then ran.
About 50 feet away, Ramos stopped and pointed his gun at a deputy who was running after him, Nelson said. The deputy fired seven rounds at Ramos.
The Scion owner later told investigators that Ramos aimed the gun at him several times while he was driving.
“He was scared,” Nelson said. “He had a gun pointed at him, and his 7-year-old son was in the car.”
The father and son were not injured.
— Pauline Repard and Teri Figueroa write for The San Diego Union-Tribune. U-T staff writer David Hernandez also contributed to this story.