April 19, 2014

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SWAT member who killed man in standoff identified

SHEFFIELD TWP. — LaGrange police Officer Wayne Ramsey has been formally identified as the member of the Lorain County SWAT Team who shot and killed Billy Alexander during a standoff Saturday at Alexander’s Dewitt Street home.

Ramsey

LaGrange officials already had acknowledged that Ramsey was on paid leave in the aftermath of the shooting before Lorain police Lt. Mark Carpentiere confirmed Wednesday that Ramsey was the shooter.

Carpentiere said he is still putting together exactly what happened between Ramsey and Alexander in the backyard of the house. He said he could not discuss the details of the confrontation or whether Alexander fired a gun during the altercation.

Ramsey shot Alexander at least twice, once in the stomach and once in the chest, with an M-4 semiautomatic assault rifle that fires .223-caliber rounds. Lorain County Coroner Stephen Evans has said the 41-year-old Alexander died of multiple gunshot wounds.

“Preliminarily, it doesn’t look like he did anything wrong,” Carpentiere said of Ramsey’s actions.

Alexander’s wife, Celsa Alexander, called 911 several times early Saturday and reported that her husband, a convicted sex offender, was threatening to kill himself and his family. Her 5-year-old daughter also can be heard on recordings of the calls pleading with her stepfather not to kill the family.

Police have said Billy Alexander fired a single shot at arriving sheriff’s deputies before fleeing into the house and into the fenced-in backyard. Deputies got Celsa Alexander, her daughter and son out of the house before setting up a perimeter until the SWAT team arrived.

SWAT members were setting up around the house when Ramsey encountered Billy Alexander in the backyard and shots were fired. An ambulance was called in, but Alexander was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Chief Deputy Dennis Cavanaugh, who oversees the SWAT team, praised its members as well as deputies, Lorain police and troopers from the Ohio Highway Patrol who were also on the scene.

The SWAT team is made up of deputies and police officers from Amherst, Avon, LaGrange, Wellington and Vermilion. Ramsey has been a member since before he joined the LaGrange Police Department in 2005.

A review of Ramsey’s personnel file showed no issues during his time there.

He was placed on leave from the Grafton Police Department in 2004 for leaking information to the media about an internal investigation of another officer but was cleared of wrongdoing because it was determined he contacted reporters on the orders of then-Grafton Police Chief James Brearey.

Ramsey has declined to comment on the shooting.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.