Austin Police Report Confirms Michael Ramos Was Fatally Shot, Says Officer Considered Car A Weapon

May 20, 2020

A 42-year-old black and Hispanic man died from multiple gunshot wounds in a police shooting in April, according to a report the Austin Police Department filed Wednesday with the Texas Attorney General's Office. 

Previously, police had not explicitly said in news conferences how Michael Ramos died, and when asked about the cause of death last week, a spokesperson said the police department could not confirm it.

Ramos died April 24 after being shot at in Southeast Austin by two officers. An officer first shot at him with a “bean bag” round, described by police as a nonlethal bullet. A video uploaded to YouTube that allegedly captures the incident shows Ramos with his hands in the air at the time.

Ramos then got in a car, identified in the report as a Toyota Prius, and another officer shot at him with a rifle. Ramos crashed the vehicle.

Police had been responding to a 911 caller who claimed a man and woman were doing drugs in the parking lot of an apartment complex and that the man was holding a gun. Last week, Police Chief Brian Manley said police had not found a gun in or around the car Ramos was driving.

Police say in the report, called a “custodial death report,” that Ramos was using the car as a weapon. Police departments are required to file this report 30 days after a person dies in the custody of a law enforcement agency.

In a summary of the incident, police say Christopher Taylor, the officer who shot and killed Ramos, feared for his life when Ramos got in the car and began to drive out of a parking spot.

“Fearing the male subject intended to use the Toyota Prius as a deadly weapon, one patrol officer fired his patrol rifle, striking the male driver,” the report reads. In the video on YouTube, Ramos can be seen pulling out of the parking spot and turning away from police.

Police write in Wednesday’s report that they had established a “barricade” around the car Ramos and the woman were in, so they could not flee police.

“Officers strategically parked their patrol vehicles, effectively blocking the exit and mitigating the risk of flight.”

According to the report, Ramos asked police why they were pointing their guns at him. In the video, someone can be heard shouting, “I don’t have a f****** gun.”

“The male subject initially complied with commands but eventually became non-compliant and verbally confrontational,” APD’s report reads. “The male subject began asking why officers had guns pointed at him and asked officers to put their weapons away

APD, the Travis County District Attorney’s Office and the Texas Rangers are investigating the shooting.

Got a tip? Email Audrey McGlinchy at audrey@kut.org. Follow her on Twitter @AKMcGlinchy.

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