In case you missed it, here’s the story we ran on former El Rancho High School football player Jose Ramos III, who was slain on Sunday morning at his girlfriend’s birthday party.
Family and coaches wanted to get the message out that Ramos’ death was a tragedy and that the young man was not part of the gang violence that claimed his life.
PICO RIVERA – The story of slain El Rancho High School alumnus Jose Ramos III was one of victory instead of violence.
That’s the message Ramos’ sister Silvia and his former football coach Rick Zepeda wanted to relay.
The 18-year-old Cerritos College student was stabbed to death early Sunday morning while attending a birthday party for his girlfriend and girlfriend’s sister in Pico Rivera.
According to Sheriff’s Homicide Lt. Don Slawson, 10 to 15 gang members tried to enter the party when they were denied access.
A fight broke out shortly after in which Jose Ramos was fatally stabbed.
“I’m the one who dropped him off at the party,” Silvia Ramos said. “It was just supposed to be a party with friends and family. Nobody ever thought anything like this would happen.”
Silvia Ramos was especially disillusioned because she said her brother spent his whole life staying away from gangs.
“He was such a good guy. We used to call him the polar bear because he was a white teddy bear – he was big and cuddly,” Silvia Ramos said. “I can’t believe anyone would want to take his life.”
Jose Ramos played two seasons on varsity for Zepeda and was a starting tackle on the 2009 squad that reached the playoffs for the first time in Zepeda’s tenure.
For his efforts, the 6-foot-2, 261-pound Jose Ramos was named an all-Del Rio League selection and the school’s Lineman of the Year.
“I want to make sure everyone knew Jose was a great student and person,” Zepeda said. “When you read the first couple of stories people might get the impression that this is just another Pico gang-banger that was gunned down.
“But that’s not the case. Jose was a positive example to everyone and this is a terrible tragedy.”
Jose Ramos was the son of Guillermina and Jose Ramos Jr. and the youngest of four siblings that included three older sisters in Silvia (27), Carmen Garcia (33) and Corina Soliz (34).
“He was the baby of the family. He was everyone’s favorite,” Silvia Ramos said. “He made us proud.”
According to Silvia Ramos, Jose Ramos was only the second member of the family to graduate from high school and first to attend college.
“He was our pride. He’s the one we all pointed to,” Silvia Ramos said. “He had one addiction in life and that was football.”
Silvia Ramos pointed out that Jose Ramos woke up at 5:30 a.m. during the summer to play football with his friends after his senior season.
“You want to know what his day was like,” Silvia Ramos said. “He would go to school, come home to eat Subway, go to the gym for five hours and then maybe visit his girlfriend. That was it. He never hurt anyone.”
Zepeda said the football team would attend the funeral, as plans are still pending.
The team will also wear Jose Ramos’ No. 79 next year either on their helmet or jersey in his honor while the number will be on a one-year moratorium.
“Jose was a great kid,” Zepeda said. “Everyone is having a hard time with his death. We just didn’t expect it.”