Grieving family begs for closure; seeks justice for slain son

Two weeks ago at her son’s memorial service on Nov. 22, Corinna Ramirez, the mother of 25-year-old fatal shooting victim Daniel Ramirez, had no further information regarding her son’s murder, but she is determined to help find his killer.

“I’m going to be that mom that’s not going to give up on her son,” choked Corinna between tears. “I’m not going to let them just throw his file in the back.”

Corinna’s son, Daniel, was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting on Nov. 4. He was found by police, dead in an aqueduct with a gunshot wound to his back, near the railroad tracks on Palm and Acacia avenues. Ramirez had reportedly been walking around the area with four other friends, when police responded to the sound of “about five” gunshots at 12:47 a.m. Another victim, a 17-year-old boy, was found with a gunshot wound to his cheek, and was released from the hospital the next day. A suspect has yet to be identified, and the investigation is still ongoing.

“Someone needs to come forward; my son will get some justice somewhere,” she said. “That’s all we’re asking for, is justice, because it seems like [violence] is an every night thing now here in Hemet, and it’s ridiculous.”

Daniel’s family did not find out about his death until Nov. 9, five days after his death. Daniel’s brother, Miguel said he had received numerous phone calls and saw posts on social media claiming that Daniel had been killed. It wasn’t until the family made a final visit to the police station, demanding answers, and to file a missing person’s report, that Det. Cpl. Gabe Gomez informed them that Daniel was, in fact, found five days prior by the tracks.

According to Daniel’s father, Jose Castro, police told them that they were unable to find immediate family within that five-day period, despite the fact that Daniel was carrying a California ID with a valid address the night he was killed.

“We went to the coroner’s office and picked up 45 cents, and a copy of my son’s ID. The address was [Corinna’s] address,” Daniel’s father explained. “So why didn’t they go to that house?”

Hemet Police Chief Dave Brown declined to comment on the aforementioned five-day period, but he affirmed that he has since extended his reach to the Ramirez family.

“This is an open and active investigation and as with any homicide case, communication with the family is imperative,” stated Chief Brown. “Our investigators are in contact with the Ramirez family in our efforts to identify the person(s) responsible for Daniel’s murder.”

On Nov. 29, Corinna said she met with HPD, where both Chief Brown and Mayor Bonnie Wright were present. They gave their condolences to Corinna, and she said they told her that they “dropped the ball,” and that they “should’ve tried harder” to establish communication with the family.

Corinna says communication between she and Det. Gomez has been lacking, and he has yet to provide her with any leads or additional information regarding the case. While visiting Daniel’s grave at San Jacinto Valley Cemetery, she has met several families of other homicide cases assigned to HPD detectives in the last year, who are also upset and experiencing similarities in the lack of progress and communication with the families. So now, Corinna wants to take matters into her own hands. She is having fliers made, and is planning to post them up around town, wherever businesses will allow. She is desperate for answers.

Brown said while he understands the family’s feelings, murder investigations are extremely complex and patience is needed while leads are being explored.

“I’m already done trying to talk to [HPD],” she said. “Now I just need to find somebody to help me, because I’m done with them. I don’t even want to post the number of the police department. I’d rather have people call me directly.”

Daniel’s family described him as “an outgoing guy” who could get along with anybody. He was known as “Hoodlum” to his friends, and though having had a history of gang involvement in the past, he was “back on the right track,” according to his mother. “He was trying to get his [3-year-old] daughter, he started going back to church, and he started doing what he needed to do. It’s just so sad that all of this violence around Hemet is occurring left and right. And it seems like nothing is getting done about the situation.”

While the Ramirez family may be losing faith in HPD, they have a newfound respect for the community’s generosity.

“I’m very thankful to the community for helping us with their donations, calling the mortuary, and being supportive,” gushed Corinna. “To me, that’s what a community is supposed to be.”

Detective Gomez can be reached at (951) 765-2324 and Corinna can be reached at (951) 210-2598.

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