RUSKIN — Angel Ramos Otero had a big family and a new idea about how to provide for them, his sister says.
Ramos, 37, worked as a landscaper but wanted to be his own boss, Shaina Otero said.
"We were talking about opening our own landscaping business by the end of the year," she said.
On Friday, Otero learned her older brother had been fatally shot by Hillsborough deputies during a domestic disturbance call at the Ruskin home he had shared with his wife and children.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office has not released Ramos' name, but Otero confirmed to the Tampa Bay Times that he was the man shot.
Now the family is trying to make sense of the account the Sheriff's Office gave of the final moments of Ramos' life. Ramos had plenty of encounters with the police in his life, but his loved ones question how he could have threatened deputies with a knife.
"We understand you have to protect yourself if your life is in danger," said Otero, 31, "but I don't believe for one second my brother would lunge at an officer."
Ramos was born in Puerto Rico, one of five siblings, and was a baby when he moved to Florida with his mother after his father died. The family was poor and Ramos was often picked on as a kid, Otero said.
"His whole life he had to put on this role of toughness."
Records show Ramos was 14 when he was arrested for the first time in Florida, on an auto burglary charge in Tampa. His sister says he graduated from Leto High School, but in 1999, he was convicted of armed carjacking and served time in prison. He was sent back to prison in 2011 for illegally possessing a firearm as a felon and released in 2012.
Ramos married Shequita Brown in 2015, the same year Brown bought the home on Shell Manor Drive, records show. She already had six children, Otero said. State records show Brown has been a certified nursing assistant in Florida since 2007.
"My kids are truly blessed to have a step father who treats them as his own," reads a caption on a photo posted on Brown's Facebook page from June 2015, the month the couple married.
The couple later had a son and a daughter together, according to Otero. The boy is 3, the girl almost 2. Ramos' Facebook page is plastered with photos of him and his children. He also had a daughter, now 14, from a previous relationship, Otero said.
Otero said Ramos recently moved out and was staying with a family friend. She said Brown wanted a divorce, but Ramos wanted to salvage the marriage.
Records show Ramos stayed out of trouble for some seven years until he was arrested last month in Tampa.
A Hillsborough sheriff's deputy in a marked patrol car pulled up behind a tan Buick sedan that Ramos was driving about 1 a.m. on June 2 and noticed a strong odor of marijuana, an arrest report says. A deputy signaled for Ramos to pull over, but Ramos kept driving fast.
The deputy encountered Ramos again, stopped near Fern and Occident streets in the Pinecrest West Park neighborhood. Ramos got out of the car with his hands up.
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I just got scared," he told the deputy, according to the report. The deputy searched the Buick and found a 9mm round, two glass cartridges with a brown residue that tested positive for cannabinoid, a glass smoking device and a digital scale with suspected marijuana residue.
Ramos was charged with fleeing and attempting to elude law enforcement, being a felon in possession of ammunition, possession of cannabis resin and possession of drug paraphernalia. The case was still pending when Ramos was killed.
According to the Sheriff's Office account, deputies responding to a domestic disturbance call from the home about 1:30 a.m. encountered a man in the street holding a knife. He refused commands to put down the knife and approached the deputies in a threatening manner, prompting Master Deputy Jessica Ennis and Deputy Daniel DeLima to fire.
Otero said her family needs to see video evidence to believe her brother came at deputies with a knife. She said she wants him to be remembered as a loving father who believed in God and knew the Bible front to back, who loved the smell of grass in the morning and burning wood in the winter.
After she heard what happened, Otero kept calling her brother's cell phone in disbelief, begging for him to answer.
"I wish I could tell him I love him one more time," she said.
Senior news researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report. Contact Tony Marrero at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 226-3374. Follow @tmarrerotimes.