Two deputies were justified in shooting and killing a knife-wielding Ruskin man earlier this month, according to the Hillsborough County State Attorney’s Office.
Deputies Jessica Ennis and Daniel DeLima used deadly force against 37-year-old Angel Noel Ramos Otero during a June 5 confrontation. According to a letter issued Friday by State Attorney Andrew Warren, they are cleared of wrongdoing.
However, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said Monday that the report could not yet be released.
On July 5, at about 1:30 a.m., deputies responded to a 911 call reporting a domestic incident, the agency said. Deputies later learned that the 37-year-old — he went by Rico Ramos on Facebook — was accused of sexually abusing a girl under the age of 12, the agency said.
A neighbor, Luis Escamilla, told the Tampa Bay Times after the incident that he saw Ramos banging on the door, apologizing and asking to be let inside. When deputies arrived at the 300 block of Shell Manor Drive, they encountered Ramos outside the home, “waving a large knife,” the Sheriff’s Office said at the time. There was a woman and several children inside the house.
“The man refused to put the knife down and approached deputies in a threatening manner,” the agency said at the time. The deputies fired multiple times, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Escamilla said he heard deputies telling Ramos to drop the knife, but instead he advanced. “That's when they shot him,” Escamilla said. Ramos died at Tampa General Hospital.
The deputies were placed on administrative leave while the shooting was investigated.
The State Attorney’s Office said it went to the scene, interviewed deputies and reviewed relevant laws in reaching its conclusion. No criminal charges will be filed.
The Sheriff’s Office also said Ramos was accused of recently sexually battering another child over the age of 12. The agency did not say when the deputies will return to patrol duty. Ennis, 37, has spent 12 years with the agency. DeLima, 25, has served for three years.
Ramos’ criminal history spanned three stints in state prison and some 30 felony charges including aggravated assault, aggravated child abuse, carjacking, domestic battery, being a felon in possession of a firearm and carrying a concealed firearm, according to the Sheriff's Office.
He once lived at the house on Shell Manor with his wife Shequita Brown. She had six kids, he had a teenage daughter, and the couple had two children of their own, family members said. But he had recently moved out because Brown wanted a divorce, his sister, Shaina Otero, said.
The Ruskin incident was the third time this year that a Hillsborough deputy shot someone in the line of duty.
On March 19, Deputy Kevin Stabins fatally shot 52-year-old Jesus Calderon while responding to a report of an attempted suicide at a home off Bearss Avenue in Tampa. Stabins told investigators Calderon refused to drop a knife he was holding and advanced toward him. The State Attorney's Office ruled that the deputy was justified in shooting him.
One week later, Deputy Daniel Estanislau shot a 17-year-old boy after responding to a March 26 domestic violence call at an apartment complex on Skipper Road. The Sheriff's Office said the boy refused commands to drop an object he was holding. Investigators did not find a weapon on the boy.
The deputy’s attorney said Estanislau believed the 17-year-old was drawing a weapon from his waistband, which turned out to be a cell phone. The attorney for the boy’s family said he was paralyzed in the shooting. The State Attorney has not released a decision in the investigation yet.
Times staff writer Tony Marrero contributed to this report. Contact Kavitha Surana at firstname.lastname@example.org or 727-893-8149. Follow @ksurana6.