Before being shot and killed, Eric Lee Ramsey, 30, used a BB gun Wednesday night in the abduction of a Grand Rapids senior outside of the Student Activity Center Isabella County Sheriff Leo Mioduszweski said.
Friday the Michigan State Police Gaylord Post confirmed that Ramsey used a BB gun before he forced the victim to drive to a residence on South Crawford Road, where he bound her with tape and raped her.
The BB gun was found Mioduszewski said, during MSP’s investigation of the damaged patrol vehicles in the Gaylord area. During Thursday’s news conference, police said Ramsey used a handgun, but did not provide any more details.
CMU police Chief Bill Yeagley said a handgun was reported, and the important thing was to notify pursuing authorities that Ramsey had a gun.
“What was important was that the individual had a weapon, and the victim had seen a gun,” Yeagley said.
The CMU Police were also updated by the State Police when they took over the investigation, had done forensics on the vehicles, and reported back to CMU on their investigation for the abduction.
According to the Code of Federal Regulations, an orange tip is required on all “toy guns” that are non-lethal and must be sold with it on. However, these regulations does not restrict the owner of the toy gun to keep the end painted.
The orange tip on a toy gun is meant to show the difference between a real gun and a replica for the benefit of the authorities.
Ramsey abducted the victim at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday in the SAC parking lot, police said.
The victim escaped by jumping from the moving vehicle, her 2003 Ford Escape, and running to a nearby house, where she was let in. Ramsey, police say, then parked the car and began dousing the house with gasoline and lit in on fire before fleeing the scene. The homeowner arrived soon after and was able to put out the flames before severe damage had been done to the property.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that had the victim not jumped out of that car, she would not be alive right now,” Mioduszewski said during Thursday’s news conference. “I think that’s why he got the gasoline. I feel comfortable saying she made the right decision jumping out of that car.”
An area broadcast was put out to local law enforcement agencies in the lower peninsula, advising them of the situation with a description of the suspect and vehicle, police said.
“Several hours later, we received a call from regional dispatch in Gaylord, advising us that the vehicle rammed one of the state police troopers out of the Gaylord post,” Mioduszewski said. “A short chase ensued; unfortunately, the state trooper’s car was too damaged to proceed much longer.”
Police said Ramsey drove off into a field early Thursday morning, where he abandoned the victim’s car and fled on foot to a nearby sanitation truck. He stole the truck and drove southbound on Old 127, where he rammed a second state police trooper.
A Crawford County sheriff’s deputy spotted the vehicle near Fredric and, after the sanitation truck made contact with the third police car, the deputy stepped out, fired shots and killed Ramsey, police said.
Editor-in-chief Aaron McMann and staff reporter Justin Hicks contributed to this report.