10/13/2003

Santa Maria Loses Veteran Officer in Handgun Accident

Officer Down: Robert R. Ramos - [Santa Maria, California]

-- The Santa Maria Times

City Hall flags were lowered to half staff Thursday as members of the Santa Maria, Calif. Police Department struggled to cope with the loss of a veteran colleague.

Officer Robert R. Ramos, 52, was dressing for work at his Santa Maria home about 5:45 a.m when he dropped his Beretta handgun as he was putting it into his holster. The Beretta apparently fired as he tried to catch it.

The 19-year department veteran, most recently assigned to the traffic bureau, was wounded in the abdomen and apparently bled to death very quickly, officials said.

On Friday, Gov. Gray Davis ordered flags at the state Capitol lowered in Ramos' memory until after the officer's funeral, officials said.

Davis expressed his "deepest condolences to Officer Ramos' family, his friends and to the Santa Maria Police Department."

Ramos was a former Marine who served two tours during the Vietnam War. He is a past recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from his department.

He is survived by his wife, Yolanda and their two adult children, Leeah and Robert II.

A memorial service for Ramos is scheduled for 11 a.m. Wednesday at Pacific Christian Center Church in Santa Maria, Calif.

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