The man shot and killed during a confrontation with Los Banos police officers Wednesday has been identified by the Merced County Sheriff’s Office.
The man, who police said has been “belligerent” and “aggressive” with police in the past, was identified as 34-year-old Los Banos resident Salome Ramirez, according to the sheriff’s office.
Ramirez died after he was shot once by an officer soon after 12:22 p.m. Wednesday along the Los Banos Rail Trail near Seventh and G Streets, close to the Los Banos Community Center, police said.
Two officers responded to calls of a man with a gun in the area and located Ramirez, Police Chief Gary Brizzee said.
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They spoke with Ramirez for a short time and he acknowledged having a weapon tucked in his “waistline,” Brizzee said. But Ramirez didn’t comply with “basic commands” from the officers, who asked him to place his hands in the air and get down on his knees.
“Suddenly the man lifts up his shirt with one hand and he retrieves the firearm, the handgun, and begins to withdraw it from his waistline,” Brizzee said.
That’s when one of the officers fired one shot from his weapon, striking Ramirez in the abdomen, Brizzee said.
Ramirez was taken to an area hospital where he died. It was later discovered the perceived weapon wasn’t a real gun, but a replica that was painted black, Brizzee said.
Ramirez has had run-ins with Los Banos police officers before, Cmdr. Jason Hedden said.
Ramirez was booked into the Los Banos Police Department jail for public intoxication four separate times in 2017 and 2018, according to Merced County jail records. He also was arrested for petty theft on June 6 and for fighting on June 22.
Ramirez was previously convicted of felony burglary and buying or receiving stolen property on Nov. 3, 2011, and he was re-arrested for violating probation on those charges in 2016, according to Merced Superior Court records.
“He has been belligerent and aggressive with officers in the past,” Hedden said. “But we don’t know if he was known to the two officers at the scene.”
The names of the two officers involved in the shooting haven’t been released by police. But authorities confirmed they have been working for the Los Banos Police Department for more than two years and they were placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation.
The investigation will involve the police department, Department of Justice and Merced County District Attorney’s Office, officials said.