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Teen pleads guilty in park shooting

By ERIN MATHEWS | Salina Journal

Juan Ramos, 19, who just two years ago was involved in another public shooting at a Salina park, pleaded guilty Friday to driving the getaway car after Derek Rico, 17, was gunned down in July in Sunset Park.

Ramos pleaded guilty to aiding a felon and didn’t seek or receive a negotiated plea. His sentencing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Dec. 20.

In Saline County District Court on Friday, County Attorney Ellen Mitchell read from an arrest affidavit. According to the affidavit, Ramos and Rico were in a fist fight when Jose M. Garay, 28, allegedly removed a handgun from his waistband and shot it within inches of Rico’s face.

The fight between Rico and Ramos was a continuation of an ongoing dispute, the affidavit indicates.

Ramos, who turned himself in, told police that he had seen Rico in Sunset Park and circled his vehicle through the area several times. He said he picked up Garay and another man near the basketball courts and drove around the park again.

As he drove by the place he’d previously seen Rico, Rico walked in front of his car, Ramos told police. Ramos got out of the car and began fighting Rico in the street near the playground, and while they were still fighting Ramos heard a gunshot and saw people running.

Ramos, Garay and the other man got back in the car and left the area. Several blocks from the park, the other two men got out of the car and fled on foot, according to the affidavit.

Investigators located a spent .38 Special casing in the rear passenger seat of the car Ramos had been driving, according to the affidavit.

Ramos previously pleaded guilty to aiding a felon and served nine months in a juvenile correctional facility after he drove his brother Cesar Ramos to Woodland Park on March 10, 2008, and Cesar shot Torrean Hughley multiple times. Hughley survived the shooting. Cesar Ramos is serving a 10-year sentence.

Garay’s preliminary hearing on a first-degree murder charge has been set for Nov. 5.

n Reporter Erin Mathews can be reached at 822-1415 or by e-mail at [email protected].

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