Friday, July 25, 2008
An illegal immigrant from El Salvador kills a man and his two sons
The scene repeats itself daily on city streets: a driver gets stuck bumper to bumper, blocking an intersection and preventing another car from turning left. But authorities say that was enough to cause Edwin Ramos to unload an AK-47 assault weapon on a man and his two sons, killing them. The deaths immediately drew public outrage, which intensified when authorities revealed that Ramos, 21, is an illegal immigrant who managed to avoid deportation despite previous brushes with the law. The case has put San Francisco's liberal politics to the test, setting off a debate over its sanctuary law that shields illegal immigrants from deportation. Ramos has pleaded not guilty to three counts of murder in the deaths of Anthony Bologna, 49, and his sons, Michael, 20, and Matthew, 16. Bologna and his older son died in the intersection on June 22. His younger son succumbed to his injuries days later. Shortly after that, police arrested Ramos, a native of El Salvador and reputed member of the Mara Salvatrucha gang, known as MS-13. Investigators believe he was the gunman, though two other men were seen in the car with him. The heinousness of the deaths has put pressure on San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris to seek the death penalty against Ramos. Harris, who campaigned on an anti-death penalty platform and has never pursued capital punishment during her more than four years in office, has declined to say exactly how she intends to proceed. "This case has been charged as a special circumstance case," making it eligible for the death penalty, spokeswoman Erica Derryck said. "No additional announcement has been made about this aspect of the charging."