'Do you really have to shoot me again?': Chilling stories from survivors of 'Night Stalker' Richard Ramirez
Richard Ramirez, also known by monikers 'The Nightstalker', 'The Walk-In Killer', and 'The Valley Intruder', was known to sexually assault children, steal from homes, and rape women, besides killing people. While he was on the move and committing his crimes, it took detectives some time to be able to track him down and tie him to the murders. Netflix's new documentary series 'Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer', releasing on January 13, goes over Ramirez's horrific killing spree which saw him convicted of 13 murders in 1989. However, there were some who were lucky enough to survive his reign of terror.
Who was Richard Ramirez?
The serial killer was born in El Paso, Texas, and had been raised by Mexican immigrants. It seemed as though all of Ramirez's crimes were totally random and there was no pattern when it came to the victims. As the documentary mentions, "anyone could be a victim" with no links in victims' ethnicity, age, or gender.
He terrorized Southern California residents for 14 months and showed no sign of slowing down. Ramirez's choice of murder weapon also varied from guns and knives to hammers and tire irons. He did not have a particularly pleasant childhood and was exposed to violence and terror at a young age by his own cousin Miguel, who even killed his wife in front of a 13 years old Ramirez.
Ramirez was also believed be heavily influenced by satan and was believed to be a satan worshipper.
Chilling Survivor Stories
While many people fell prey to his attacks, there were some who were lucky enough to survive and tell the tale.
Maria Hernandez survived being shot by Ramirez after it miraculously deflected off the pair of keys she was holding. As she ran away from her house where Ramirez was, she heard another gunshot from inside the home and grew concerned for her housemate. She believed that since Ramirez had been in the garage, she could enter from the front of the house. However, as she moved forward, Ramirez appeared leaving both the killer and Hernandez startled. Before he could do anything, she asked him, "Hey you already shot me once, do you really have to shoot me again?" In an unbelievable twist of fate, Ramirez put down the gun and walked away from the scene, leaving Hernandez's housemate dead.
Another survivor Anastasia Hronas was lucky to survive her horrific ordeal. She was only 6 years old at the time she was abducted from her home by Ramirez who took her to his house and sexually assaulted her. In the documentary, she says, "Something in the way that he would look at me, it was almost like, 'I’m sorry that I’m doing this to you. But I’m not sorry, cause I’m not gonna stop'."
She also recalled how while taking her in the car, he told her to open the glove box where she saw a gun. He had wanted her to know that there was a gun with him. After he sexually abused her at his home, he dropped her at a gas station and told her to go call 911, and left.
Lorraine and John Rodriguez
Both Lorraine and John Rodriguez had a very close call with Ramirez aka the Nightstalker who was known to break into homes. While Lorraine had fallen asleep on the couch one night, she heard a loud noise and loudly called out for her husband who was asleep in the bedroom. She recalls how her fear grew especially given the stillness. When John came around to his wife, he told her it was just some sound from outside, until the couple found that one of their windows had been broken open. There had also been footprints in the flower beds below the window. John who was a police officer had found a very distinct footprint in the flower beds outside and had even covered it with a box, preserving it until detectives arrived. It was the same footprints that had been found at the scene of at least 8 murders and tied all the crimes to one person.
Ramirez had broken into the home of Bill Carns and his fiancee and entered the pair's bedroom. He then proceeded to shoot Carns three times in the head after which he sexually assaulted, beat up, and robbed Carns' fiancee. He also made her swear on satan many times and told her that he was the 'nightstalker'. After he left the house, Carns' fiancee untied herself and rushed to her neighbor's house to get help for Carns who was left severely injured.
Bennett was able to survive a brutal attack by Ramirez. In 1989, the then 16-year-old had left her bedroom window unlocked in her home in Sierra Madre, California. Ramirez had made his way into the home via the window and beat up the young teenager. He beat her with a tire iron, choked her, and stole her jewelry. Her injuries had been so severe that she needed cosmetic surgery post the gruesome attack.
Chris and Virginia Peterson
The couple was one amongst many who came face to face with Ramirez in the year 1985. Ramirez broke into their bedroom and shot Virginia in the face and Chris in the head. However, despite being in a state of shock and severely injured, Chris managed to chase Ramirez out of the house despite having a gunshot wound to the head.
Getting Caught and Sentencing
Ramirez was eventually caught by a bunch of neighbors in a community after authorities had released his sketches in newspapers and media in 1985. He was recognized while trying to evade police and was nabbed by brave neighbors who joined together to make sure he did not escape. Ramirez was convicted of 13 murders, five attempted murders, 11 sexual assaults, and 14 burglaries in 1989. He was also sentenced to die in California's gas chambers but ended up dying in 2013 from B-cell lymphoma at age 53 while in prison.