At approximately 9:30 p.m. Wednesday night, outside of Central Michigan University’s student center, Ramsey forced a student into her car at gunpoint. After forcing the young woman to drive to an unknown residence, he tied her up and raped her. When he was done with his sexual assault, he put her back into the vehicle with two gas cans and told her that he was about to kill her, according to MLive.com.
The victim then jumped from the moving vehicle and ran to a nearby house and banged on the door. The occupants let her in, but as she was dialing 911, Ramsey allegedly sprayed the home with the gasoline and set it on fire. The occupants were able to douse the flame before anyone was injured.
“She’s the hero in all this,” said CMU Police Chief Bill Yeagley, who said that he had no doubt that if the victim had not jumped out of the vehicle, she’d be dead. “She’s a strong individual.”
That’s when the police chase began that ended with Ramsey’s death.
Central Michigan Life has more:
Like most of the night, the 30-year-old Mount Pleasant resident showed his reckless disregard – for the Central Michigan University student he tried killing, for the police and for himself.
And after the senior from Grand Rapids jumped from a moving vehicle – her 2003 Ford Escape – he fled with it.
North on U.S. 127, he eventually wound up in Gaylord, ramming an MSP patrol car three times, leaving it inoperable and the trooper inside injured, according to a Thursday release from the MSP-Gaylord Post.
Ramsey put time between him and the law as responding troopers followed the vehicle’s snow-laden tracks into an elk ranch southeast of town. The tracks led them to the vehicle, stuck in the snow and abandoned. Foot tracks then led them to Arrow Sanitation off M-32 in Gaylord, where it is believed he stole a sanitation truck.
At approximately 4:15 a.m., according to the release, troopers were parked on southbound Old 27 north of Frederic looking for the stolen truck. Then it showed, without headlights, ramming an MSP vehicle from behind.
A Crawford County deputy had been following the stolen truck and witnessed the collision. He continued the pursuit, and that’s when Ramsey turned around and began traveling northbound – toward the deputy.
According to the release, the deputy – having watched Ramsey ram an MSP patrol car – tried turning off the roadway but was rammed, pinning him in his vehicle. He then got out, and shot and killed Ramsey.
About an hour prior to his death, Ramsey posted the following status to his Facebook page:
According to Isabella County Sheriff Leo Mioduszewski, the incident was completely random and they have no idea why Ramsey targeted the college campus. He had been checking out several potential victims outside of the student center, but there were too many people.
Unsurprisingly, his friends’ reactions on Facebook ranged from shock and confusion, to stunned disbelief once word spread that the status was, in fact, real.
Tiffany Ramon, the homeowner of the house that Ramsey set on fire, also weighed in on his Facebook page after his death:
Ramon’s children, James Persyn III, 14; Acelin, 11; and Angus, 2, were home alone while their father, James Persyn, Jr,went to pick up their mom from work. The children let the distraught woman inside, the eldest grabbed his father’s hunting knife and they all went into the bathroom and locked the door.
By this time, Ramsey was beating on the door to come inside. When there was no response, he poured gasoline on the house and set it on fire, then took off in the victim’s vehicle.
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In an interview with MLive, Ramon said that the violent crime and chase do not seem like things that her friend would do:
“He was a decent guy,” she said. “He was not violent or destructive. He wasn’t a womanizer.”
Apparently, they don’t know their friend very well.
According to MLive, Ramsey “served five years in prison for four felonies, including assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder in Isabella County and felonious assault in Gratiot County.”
But his actions Thursday morning were still “shocking” to Ramon.
“It’s just a horrific incident,” said Mioduszewski. “We don’t know what possessed him to do that. We may never find out.”