Oklahoma City police on Thursday identified the armed man shot and killed by officers on the shoulder of Interstate 35.
About 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Simon Paschal Ramirez, 30, died at the scene near the southbound I-35 off-ramp at SE 51, Capt. Dexter Nelson said.
Officers opened fire on Ramirez after he waved a gun at them when they tried to confront him about a possibly stolen vehicle, Nelson said.
Nelson said officers were in the area running license plates to look for stolen vehicles when they got a hit on a vehicle in the parking lot of a gas station on the east side of I-35 on SE 44.
When officers tried to confront a man and woman in the vehicle, the pair got out and ran, he said. The woman was quickly captured, but the man led officers on a foot chase south on the I-35 service road.
He eventually crossed the northbound lanes of I-35, the median and the southbound lanes, making his way to the shoulder.
Officers noticed the man was pointing a gun at them and oncoming traffic when he stepped into a well-lit area, Nelson said.
“He started jogging toward them,” witness Lindsay Houts of Oklahoma City said. “It looked like he might be surrendering, but it changed really quickly. There were at least five shots, maybe more.”
Two officers have been placed on routine paid administrative leave while the incident is investigated, Nelson said.
Police closed the southbound lanes of I-35 at SE 51 for about five hours while they investigated the scene. The highway was reopened shortly after 11:30 p.m.
Oklahoma County court records show Ramirez pleaded guilty to charges of possession of marijuana, methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia in November 2011. He also pleaded guilty in 2010 to charges of unauthorized use of a vehicle and in 2007 to charges of violating a protective order.
“We live by the saying that no matter what, we go home to our families. No officer goes to work ever hoping that something like this will happen. But certainly all of them train for it,” said Oklahoma City Fraternal Order of Police Vice President Mark Nelson.
“Just like every person deals with tragedy differently, so does every officer ... We have our chaplain ready to help if he is needed,” Mark Nelson said.