[UPDATED] Larry Ruiz, OC Homicide No. 6: Shot While Changing Tire on St. Patrick's Day
Two roomates have been charged with the St. Patrick's Day murder ofLarry Ruiz
, the 19-year-old who was shot to death while helping a friend change a tire in a Fullerton alley.
Charles Thomas Ramirez Jr., 33, and Marc Tomas Luna, 27, both of Fullerton, face one felony count each of murder, the Orange County district attorney's office announced today .
Ramirez also faces sentencing enhancements that, coupled with a murder conviction, could get him a sentence of 51 years to life in state prison. Luna could fetch a term of 26 years to life, if convicted.
When Ramirez and Luna confronted Ruiz, they claimed, he had been involved in a fight with Luna earlier in the day, something Ruiz denied, according to the statement below from the OCDA, which claims Ramirez punched Ruiz in the face and fired the kill-shot into the young man's forehead.
March 22, 2011
ROOMMATES CHARGED WITH ST. PATRICK'S DAY SHOOTING-MURDER OF MAN IN FULLERTON ALLEY
SANTA ANA - Two roommates have been charged with murder for shooting a man in the head while the victim was changing a tire in a Fullerton alley. Charles Thomas Ramirez, 33, and Marc Tomas Luna, 27, both of Fullerton, are each charged with one felony count of murder. Ramirez also faces sentencing enhancements for the personal discharge of a firearm causing death and a prior prison conviction for theft in 2008. If convicted, Ramirez faces a maximum sentence of 51 years to life in state prison. Luna faces a sentencing enhancement for a prior prison conviction for theft in 2007 and faces a maximum sentence of 26 years to life in state prison if convicted. Both defendants are being held on $1 million bail and are expected to be arraigned today, Tuesday, March 22, 2011, in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana. The time is to be determined.
At approximately 9:30 p.m. on March 17, 2011, Ramirez and Luna are accused of approaching 19-year-old Larry Ruiz, who was helping his friend change a tire in an alley behind Ruiz's parent's home in Fullerton. The defendants are accused of confronting the victim and claiming that he had been involved in a physical fight earlier in the day with Luna. Ruiz denied being involved in the fight. Ramirez is accused of then punching the victim in the face.
As Ruiz began to back away in an attempt to escape, Ramirez is accused of pulling out a firearm and shooting the victim one time in the forehead. Luna and Ramirez are accused of fleeing the scene. Ruiz died at the scene. His friend was uninjured.
The Fullerton Police Department investigated this case and arrested Ramirez and Luna on March 18, 2011.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Steve McGreevy of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.
UPDATE, MARCH 21, 3:23 P.M.: Three people have been arrested in the killing of Larry Ruiz, two on suspicion of murder.
Charles Ramirez Jr., 33, and Marc Luna,
24 27, face the murder raps. Melissa Ramirez, the 23-year-old wife of Charles Ramirez, was charged with being an accessory. All three reside in Fullerton.
Fullerton police have provided few details on what led them to the trio but did say a handgun believed to have been used in the shooting was recovered and a vehicle was impounded.
Witnesses are still being sought. If you saw anything, contact Detective Barry Coffman at 714.738.5361 or 714.738.6715.
ORIGINAL POST, MARCH 18, 12:45 P.M.: Nineteen-year-old Larry Ruiz was changing a tire on his Nissan Quest in a Fullerton alley with a friend around 9:30 p.m. Thursday when two men in their late teens or early 20s walked up. Words were exchanged, and then Ruiz started running down the alley in the 1100 block of West Williamson Avenue.
One man pulled out a handgun and fired a shot that hit Ruiz, who was later pronounced dead at the scene.
Ruiz's friend was not injured. The baddies split.
The Orange County Register reports on and shows photos of a memorial that has already been set up in the alley for the young man who took his last breaths there. The paper also quotes the victim's brother, Frank Ruiz:
"He was just a boy. They should have shot me instead. . . . It's a calm area. I don't know why this happened."
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss OC Weekly's biggest stories. Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts