http://email@example.com Video of Texas Trooper Being Shot Released CASEY KNAUPP Courtesy of Tyler Morning Telegraph <http://www.tylerpaper.com> 7/18/2006: As DPS Trooper Steven Stone approached the blue pickup truck he stopped for speeding, he placed his thumbprint on the back brake light - as he always does - just in case. He said Texas Department of Public Safety troopers do it in case something happens to them - for instances like that of March 22 - so that their print is on the suspect's vehicle. On Tuesday, illegal immigrant Ramon Armando Ramos, 38, pleaded guilty to shooting Stone during the traffic stop. He also pleaded guilty to 13 additional counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon against a public servant for shooting at Tyler police officers pursuing him after he shot the trooper. Judge Cynthia Stevens Kent, of the 114th District Court, sentenced him to life in prison on each of the 14 charges. She ordered that two of the sentences be stacked and the others run concurrently, which means Ramos will become eligible for parole after serving 60 years in prison. He was also ordered to pay restitution to the victims. Ramos' brother, Mario Ramos, was arrested after he allegedly lied on the witness stand. THE VIDEO Judge Kent and an audience of about 50 people, including law enforcement officers, friends and family of Stone, were shown Stone's patrol car video that captured the shooting. At about 9 p.m. March 22, Stone was patrolling Texas Highway 31 East when he attempted to pull over the pickup for speeding. He told dispatch that the vehicle "didn't want to stop," but the video showed it eventually pulled over to the side of the road. Stone asked the driver, Ramos, who was wearing a long black jacket, to exit the truck and to stand behind it. When asked if he had any weapons, Ramos said he had a knife. Ramos also told Stone that the passenger, Francisco Saucedo, was a friend of his. Ramos handed him identification. When Ramos said he was on painkillers, Stone began looking inside Ramos' jacket. He asked what was in his pocket and as Ramos reached for it, a bag fell to the ground. He told Stone it was "weed" and the trooper laid it on top of his car and said, "I got a bag full of drugs here." Stone told him to take off his jacket and he laid it on the truck. Stone told Ramos he was under arrest, and as the trooper grabbed his hands to handcuff him, the passenger door flew open. Stone yelled at the passenger to get back in the vehicle, but at that time, Ramos pulled a handgun and shot Stone, who was only a few feet away. The passenger, Saucedo, also shot at Stone. Stone fell into a ditch and was out of sight of the camera. Ramos and Saucedo kept firing at him until their guns were empty, then got back in the truck and sped away. Meanwhile, Stone was screaming in pain and yelling for help. He crawled back to his car and radioed for assistance - "I've been shot." Stone's breathing and speech were labored as he told a dispatcher his location. "My shoulder is killing me," he said. Less than 2 minutes later, a Smith County sheriff's deputy arrived. Stone said he didn't know where he was hit and gave him a description of the truck and suspects. More deputies arrived and took Stone in a cruiser to the hospital, while others headed out to look for the suspects. EMOTIONAL TESTIMONY Stone choked up as the video played and he looked at his wife, who was crying. The trooper said he wanted the community to know what law enforcement does and that "this stuff is going on." He said the officers who helped him were the real heroes. Stone said he placed his thumbprint on the brake light of Ramos' pickup for instances "like this." His fingerprint was taken from the vehicle by law enforcement as evidence. Stone said that when he began to place handcuffs on Ramos, he noticed a magazine in his pocket. At the same time, he saw the passenger door swing open. "At that moment," he said, "I knew things were going to get bad." He said that after he was shot the first time, his vision went black. He could still hear gunfire and didn't realize he had fallen to the ground. When he regained his eyesight, Ramos and Saucedo were still firing down at him in the ditch, he said. "To me, every round they were firing was hitting me and (I thought) that I was going to die," he said. Stone said he didn't have a radio on his body because they had poor transmission, so he went back to his car and used that radio for help. He said he didn't realize he had been shot in the neck until he made it to his car. Stone said one bullet entered his chest and came out at his collarbone. Red marks on his neck showed where it had traveled. Another bullet hit his bulletproof vest and pierced his skin, while another entered his shoulder blade and exited at the top of his shoulder, fracturing his scapula and shattering his collarbone. He said doctors could not be sure how many times he was hit. Stone said he had gone through one surgery in July and was initially stapled and stitched up. He said that he will have to go through physical therapy, and it is unclear if he'll have more surgeries or how well his shoulder will recover. On the night of the shooting, Stone said he told the doctors that he wanted to live so he could "see my little girl again." Stone served as a military policeman in the Army before becoming a trooper in 2003 and has a wife and 2-year-old daughter. THE PURSUIT Tyler police Sgt. Tom Deal testified he was involved in the pursuit of Ramos and Saucedo through Tyler. A video in his police car showed rapid gunfire coming from the passenger side of the truck toward the police officers. The pursuit continued until the pickup crashed into a red car parked on the side of the road on Texas 64 East. Deal said that in his 25 years at the police department, he had never encountered something like that, which endangered so many lives. Tyler police Officer Michael Kieny testified that he heard a call that a witness had called in, reporting a possible sighting of the suspect's truck. Kieny and his passenger, Officer Jason Shields, went to the location and spotted it. He tried to stop the pickup to make sure it was the right one, but it did not pull over. He began to pursue it and noticed the passenger hanging out the window with an assault-type rifle. He pulled back from the truck because he was only equipped with his pistol, he said. As he continued the pursuit, the truck nearly stopped, and someone inside began firing at Kieny. Kieny decided to stay back and wait for help, but kept following the truck. He said bullets came through his windshield and shards of glass hit Shields in the face. Their car was hit at least three times, and a bullet fragment entered Kieny's headrest, he said. The video from his car showed his pursuit until it went blank when the cable to the camera was shot. Kieny said, they kept "hitting their brakes to try to reel us in so they could take us out." Kieny said the community needs to know what officers go through and said "everyone that puts a badge on in this town deserves a hand." Tyler police Officer John Carnes said he also participated in the chase and was fired at. He said his car was hit twice during the "gunfight." Carnes said he took the lead in the pursuit because he had equipped himself with an assault rifle. Tyler police Officer Charles Turner said he was shot at by the driver's handgun in the pursuit; his car was hit twice and his tire was blown out. Smith County sheriff's Detective Noel Martin said he found four weapons in Ramos' truck, including three handguns, an assault rifle, a silencer, four magazines and several types of ammunition, as well as cartridges and spent shell casings. Both suspects were wearing body armor. BROTHER ARRESTED Ramos' younger brother, Mario, a commercial pilot and a U.S. citizen, was ordered by Judge Kent to be arrested after she said she believed he committed aggravated perjury. He testified that he had talked to Ramos' wife about a month ago but didn't know where she was. He said he has been to Ramos' house since his arrest and kept changing his answer when asked repeatedly if he removed anything from the house. He finally said he had taken a hunting rifle from Ramos' house and had left it with his wife in Tulsa, but then he said it was at his house in Atlanta. When asked why he wasn't truthful when first asked the questions, he said he wanted to invoke his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. Attorney Don Davidson was appointed to speak with the witness and advise him of his rights. When the witness took the stand again and was asked why he lied, he invoked his right again. Mario Ramos was then taken into custody. County Court-at-Law Judge Randall Rogers set his bond at $180,000, and agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were brought in to investigate. During the all-day hearing, Ramon Ramos' defense attorney, Leslie McLean, did not ask any questions of the witnesses and waived her closing argument. Smith County District Attorney Matt Bingham said during closing arguments that Stone's video alone warranted a life sentence. He said that officers put their lives on the line every day, and that the video showed Ramos made many moves from the time he got out of the truck that were consistent with a plan to shoot Stone. He said they were determined to kill the trooper and thought he was dead when they left. Bingham said he hoped the community saw the bravery of the officers - pistols to assault rifles - and the total disregard for the officers and citizens shown by the defendants. Bingham said Ramos admitted to using powder and crack cocaine and to being high on amphetamines and methamphetamines at the time of the shooting. Ramos also pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison for aggravated assault on a public servant against Tyler police officers Michael Kieny, Mark Lee, Matthew Smyser, Blake Lockhart, Rex Pitts, John Carnes, Donald "Mike" Saxion, Charles Turner, Michelle Brock, Damon Swan, Sgt. Tom Deal, Jason Shields and Weston Cook. During victim impact statements, Stone said Ramos' actions only strengthened Stone's convictions of who he is and what he does, as well as made heroes out of a citizen and the officers. He said he didn't know what Ramos' intentions were and he prayed that God would forgive him. Stone, who wore his arm in a sling, said he was unsure when he would be able to return to work as a trooper. Ramos, a Mexican citizen, has also pleaded guilty in federal court to being an illegal alien. Saucedo, who was in the car with him and also allegedly shot at Stone and the other officers, is also charged with 14 counts of the first-degree felony. His trial is set for Aug. 9.