Teen, East L.A. Residents Honored for Roles in ‘Night Stalker’ Capture
SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) _ A 13-year-old boy who reported a suspicious-looking car that helped authorities find a suspect in the ″Night Stalker″ case has been rewarded with a dirt bike and checks for $3,500.
The information provided by Joseph Romero III of Mission Viejo led authorities to Richard Ramirez, the 25-year-old suspect in the serial murders, Orange County Sheriff Brad Gates said at a news conference Thursday.
In Sacramento, seven East Los Angeles residents credited with capturing Ramirez Aug. 31 were honored by the Legislature and Gov. George Deukmejian.
″There aren’t many people who would do what you do,″ Deukmejian told the seven. ″I add my thanks on behalf of all the people of California. You will be an example to others.″
The Night Stalker has been blamed for more than 30 attacks, including at least 14fatal shootings, beatings and knifings since February. Some victims appeared to have been tortured or mutilated.
Ramirez has been charged in Los Angeles with one of the murders and served with an arrest warrant for another which occurred in San Francisco.
There is a $70,000 reward for the capture and conviction of the Night Stalker.
Romero on Thursday received a three-wheel, all-terrain vehicle, a check for $2,500 from Los Angeles Rams owner Georgia Frontiere and a $1,000 check from the sheriff’s advisory commission.
The dirt bike was donated anonymously, Gates said.
The Southern California teen ″provided us with the most important information ... out of 2,000 phone calls″ on the case, said the sheriff, who praised him for not being afraid to get involved.
Romero was working on a minibike Aug. 25 when he spotted someone walking by his garage and told his father, who called authorities. The boy gave sheriff’s deputies a description of a suspicious car, including a prtial license number.
Shortly after that, the Night Stalker attacked a couple who lived a mile away, shooting a man in the head and raping his fiancee.
Authorities searching for the car found it abandoned in Los Angeles. A fingerprint found inside the vehicle was matched to Ramirez.
Romero and his family were held in protective custody until Ramirez was arrested. He was cornered by East Los Angeles residents who were angered when he allegedly tried to steal cars in their neighborhood.
In Sacramento Thursday, five men and two women were presented with state resolutions commending their contribution to Ramirez’s capture by state Sen. Art Torres of Los Angeles.
Honored were Angelina De La Torre, who recognized Ramirez and fought him off when he allegedly tried to take her car, and her husband, Manuel, who along with neighbors Jose, Julio and Jaime Burgoin chased the man and captured him. Faustino and Renalda Pinon were also thanked.
Deukmejian met briefly with the seven in his Capitol office. He presented them with cufflinks bearing the governor’s seal to each of the men and pins to each of the women.