CHICAGO — Prosecutors yesterday charged Nicolas Ramirez, 20, with carjacking a woman at gunpoint in Little Village on Tuesday. Ramirez was on bail for another armed carjacking case and on probation for a felony gun case at the time. And, for good measure, he had warrants out on both cases because he stopped showing up for his court dates.
When we report stories like the one you’re about to read, people often ask us, “How in the world was that person out on the streets?” It depends. But, in the case of Nicolas Ramirez, the answer is Cook County Judge Geary Kull.
Probation, carjacking, bail reduction
In May 2022, Ramirez pleaded guilty to felony firearm possession in exchange for a sentence of 50 hours of community service and two years of “first-time weapons offender probation” from Judge Stanley Sacks.
Just three months later, Ramirez pulled out a gun and carjacked a driver in Cicero, prosecutors say. As the driver got out of his car, Ramirez pistol-whipped him and ordered him to run or he’d risk being shot, prosecutor Sarah Dale-Schmidt explained in court yesterday.
A little while later, Ramirez jumped out of the freshly-hijacked car and tried to rob someone else, according to Dale-Schmidt. When that victim didn’t comply, she said, Ramirez hit them in the face with a gun and fled.
Cicero police arrested him in October and Judge Elizabeth Ciaccia-Lezza ordered him to pay a $25,000 bail deposit to go on electronic monitoring. Unable to make bond, he sat in jail until December 2.
That’s when Judge Kull reduced his bail payment to just $2,500, court records show, and Ramirez went home on an ankle monitor the same day. Kull decided in February that Ramirez didn’t need electronic monitoring anymore, so he removed the sheriff’s ankle monitor and told Ramirez to stay in the house from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., according to the records.
But Ramirez stopped appearing in court for the hijacking case two weeks ago. Kull put out an arrest warrant. And Sacks, the judge overseeing the gun probation matter, put out another arrest warrant when Ramirez failed to appear in his courtroom last week.
Another carjacking charge
And on Tuesday, prosecutors now say, Ramirez threatened to kill a 57-year-old woman while carjacking her at gunpoint in Chicago. But it was at 2:30 p.m., so, if the allegations are true, at least he didn’t violate Kull’s curfew.
Ramirez knocked on the woman’s driver’s window in the 2500 block of South Springfield and pulled a gun from the back of his waistband, Dale-Schmidt said.
“Get out m*****f*****, or I’ll kill you,” he allegedly barked.
As the woman complied, she noticed someone else enter her passenger seat as Ramirez slid behind the wheel and drove away with her Mercedes, officials said.
She immediately called 911, and cops intercepted the car less than five minutes later.
Dale-Schmidt said Ramirez and the front-seat passenger bailed out of the vehicle after getting trapped in an alley between a bunch of construction equipment and a phalanx of cops. Ramirez resisted the police and balled up his fists at them as they cornered him in a garage, said Dale-Schmidt.
The man who ran from the hijacked car’s passenger seat, Joel Padilla, had a loaded handgun in his shorts and one of the victim’s debit cards, according to Dale-Schmidt.
Those details are important, Ramirez’s defense attorney argued. Ramirez didn’t have the gun or the robbery proceeds. Padilla did.
Judge Kelly McCarthy was unconvinced. She held Ramirez without bail at the state’s request on charges of aggravated vehicular hijacking with a firearm, aggravated assault of a peace officer, felony resisting, and misdemeanor resisting.
Padilla, who has never been arrested before, is charged with unlawful use of a weapon, unauthorized possession of a debit card, and misdemeanor criminal trespass to a vehicle. He’ll need to pay a $1,000 bail deposit to go home.