Los Angeles

Born-Again Christian Killed in South Los Angeles

After spending 13 years in prison for first-degree robbery, Jose Juan Ramos got a hero's welcome the day he came home.

But the joy of that moment would last only two years.

"He was a very good, loving, smart person," his sister Ariana says. "I know he prayed for all of us every single day. And I'm sure that he's looking down on us and praying for us."

The day he was killed, Dec. 15, 2017, LAPD South Bureau Homicide detectives say the 45-year-old Ramos was in his car at 49th and Flower just before 3 a.m.

"It's unknown if someone walked up, shot him or drive up and shot him," says LAPD Detective Jonathan Kincaid, who says this area up against the 110 Freeway is a hotbed of illegal activity.

"I still can't believe it, you know," fighting back tears, brother Jorge Ramos says Jose never married, never had any kids, and had hoped to be the sibling who would care for their aging parents.

"Those were the plans," he says. "And now that, you know, I see my parents, my mom just recently fell and fractured her spine, those are things that get to me, you know, [he] should've been here."

Ramos' family says they feel cheated out of celebrating his new life with them.

"I know when he was incarcerated he changed," his sister says. "He became a different person, a different man. He became Christian and that's what kept him alive and kept him moving forward."

Ariana says Jose was actively changing his life. After prison he reconnected with a childhood friend who had become a local pastor.

"At 19 I got saved. He went the other way," says David Trujillo, pastor at Calvary Chapel in South LA. "After every service he would come up to me and say, hey Pastor, can we pray for my family?"

A $50,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the shooter – money LAPD hopes will awaken a sense of justice on South LA streets.

Anyone with information is asked to contact LAPD's South Bureau Homicide Division at 323-786-5113 or to remain anonymous, tipsters can call 1-800-222-8477.

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