The Night Stalker Terrorizes LA


Richard Ramirez starts his months long killing spree

Richard Ramirez, the serial killer known as “The Night Stalker” terrorized the people of Los Angeles’ San Gabriel Valley in the spring and summer of 1985.  His disturbing, cocaine fueled, home invasions were national news as police tried to capture the deranged killer.  Ramirez would be known for sexually assaulting his female victims and leaving satanic carvings in their bodies or at the scenes. 

Ramirez’s spree started with two separate murders on March 17, 1985 (he had committed at least two prior homicides in 1984 that were later attributed to him).  The homicides were both committed with a .22 caliber gun within an hour of each other.  The clear connections between the two murders chilled the blood of responding detectives.  They knew they had a very dangerous perp on their hands.   

The first homicide happened in Rosemead.  A young woman pulling into her driveway was shot in the face as her car came to a stop.  She would survive the assault by playing dead.  The perp, later identified as Ramirez then went into the house.  A second resident was inside.  Ramirez killed her with a single shot to the head.  

About an hour later a young woman was pulled from her car in Montery Park.  Ramirez shot her twice with the same .22 pistol, killer her.  He fled the scene but police already had a description.  A young curly haired man with bulging eyes.  

Ramirez would go on to kill at least 15 people.  He usually conducted a home invasion at a random location.  Entering the victim’s residence, he would often shoot any male victims and leave women alive to rape and torture them.  He even raped some victims post mortem.  The survivors were often made to swear fealty to Satan.  Ramirez carved or drew pentagrams into victim’s bodies or on the walls of their homes.  The randomness of his victims was both unusual and terrifying.  Anyone was susceptible to his predations.

Ramirez would almost always ransack his victim’s homes, looking for valuables.  He would torture survivors until they told him where money or jewelry was kept.  Cocaine was his drug of choice and it didn’t come cheap.  Victim’s money and valuables fueled his habit.

Detectives got a lucky break on August 28, 1985.  Ramirez had used and dumped a stolen car for one of his crimes.  A print was lifted of the rearview mirror and cops got a hit on Ramirez due to his prior arrest record.  

Police released the print hit and photos of Ramirez to the public.  On August 31, 1985 he walked past a few cops stationed at a bus station who were there looking for him.  He left the station, but a few eagle eyed elderly ladies in East LA spotted him and started to point and yell.  Ramirez fled, but the citizens of East LA were on to him.   Ramirez was pursued and accosted by a mob.  They beat him mercilessly with their hands, feet, and a fence post until cops arrived and arrested the satanic slayer.  

In July 22, 1988 Ramirez’s  trial started. It opened with a bang.  Ramirez stood up in court, revealed a pentagram tattooed on the inside of his hand and shouted, “Hail Satan!”  He was found guilty on all 43 charges.    


Christopher Flanagan


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