A Colombian immigrant turned into a hero on Tuesday morning after he saved a Miami police officer from a firefight with a dangerous criminal.
William Ramirez, 47, was on his way to work when he saw Officer Rosny Obas — a 9-month rookie policeman — taking cover from a man firing at him with an assault rifle.
Ramirez then took action, driving his Dodge Caravan between the shooter and Obas before opening his side door for the officer and driving him to safety.
“The police work to protect us,” Ramirez said to reporters. “We have to help them. How could I not?”
The trouble started on Monday when taxi driver Frantzy Armand (who has been identified as 28 years old in the Miami Herald, and 29 years old in Local 10's report) became belligerent while on the job.
He allegedly got into an accident with another taxi that day, and went back to the driver's company where he vandalized several cars.
Obas was taking a report from the company the next morning when one of the workers saw Armand driving by, according to the Miami Herald.
The officer then attempted to pull Armand over.
However, when Armand got out of his car, he fired at Obas with an assault rife through a duffel bag.
A firefight ensued between the two men, with Obas trying to hold his own despite being outgunned.
The battle turned in his favor, though, when Ramirez, a father of 2 children, noticed the situation unfolding from a distance and drove his van between the two men, shielding Obas from gunfire.
Obas then entered his van and the two sped off.
They stopped eight blocks away where Ramirez gave Obas a drink from his water jug.
The next morning, Ramirez received a phone call from the Mayor of Miami, Tomas Regalado, who said that he wished to give him a plaque at the next commission meeting in honor of his heroic efforts.
Things did not end as well for Armand. After Ramirez took Obas to safety, the criminal took the officer's patrol car and attempted to flee the scene. He was soon stuck in traffic and began to fire his gun, hitting an innocent driver.
The situation came to an end when Armand drove to a neighborhood where an off-duty police officer was present. The officer demanded that Armand lower his weapon, and when he refused the officer opened fire, hitting Armand.
Armand was then taken to the hospital.
Though the firefight ended with two injured bystanders, both are expected to make a full recovery.
Armand was charged with two counts of attempted murder and discharging a firearm in public.
He was denied bond.
Ramirez later met with Obas's police union attorney who thanked him for his actions.
“He was obviously very in tune and perceptive,” the attorney said. “You have an officer with a handgun against a much more high-powered weapon. He was at a severe disadvantage. He was in a bad way.”
Police Chief Rodolfo Llanes is grateful a good Samaritan was there to help one of his own.
"I've spoken to him and he's very proud of what he did, and we're very proud and thankful," the police chief said. "Gratitude goes out to someone who helps an officer. He said it best: God put him there to save the officer's life and that's what he did."
Ramirez is looking forward to being honored at the city commission meeting and is grateful for the country that he now calls home.
“I love this country,” Ramirez said.
Photo Credit: The Miami Herald, ABC 10