“The Night Stalker” 25th Anniversary 1985-2010 and Walking Tour August 29th


The summer of 1985. The hottest in L.A. history. During those boiling hot nights, the darkness brought no relief. Only sleepless fear, bloody nightmares, and cold sweat. Doors and windows were double checked, and newly installed security bars imprisoned us within our own homes. The “Night Stalker” had become the living specter of our collective fears,.. and no one was safe.

Born and raised in El Paso, Texas, a young drifter and skilled burglar named Richard Munoz Ramirez stepped from a Greyhound bus at 6th and Los Angeles street and soon blended into the human cesspool of downtown’s skid row’s underworld.  From this home base, his touch of evil would reach into the sanctity of random and scattered south land homes, transforming nightmares into steel cold realities. He would leave his bloody mark on our city with an infamy to match the most brutal and violent episodes of our generation.

The Night Stalker’s path of murder and rape crossed very close to my very own East Los Angeles neighborhood. We felt his shadow lurking on our streets and at our back windows. A self professed predator for Satan’s favor, he prowled and savaged in the neighborhoods of Monterey Park and Whittier among others and no one could anticipate where he would strike next.

When the sun rose that day in Los Angeles, August 31st 1985, it was one of those mornings so brutally hot, that you got out of bed already sweating…..

We awoke that morning and finally saw the true face of the Night Stalker on the front pages of all the newspapers and on our tv screens….Richard Ramirez,…drifter…identified….

Armando Lojero with a copy of the LA Herald which shows Richard Ramirez. Lojero, the owner of the Wyvernwood store on the corner of 8th and Evergreen, reported that Ramirez took the newspaper from the stand in front of his store after seeing his picture on the first page.

.…The events leading up to that morning have been the subject of my past year’s research. During this period I’ve been fortunate to have had extensive conversations and invaluable information first from Mr. Philip Carlo, author of “The Night Stalker, The Life and Crimes of Richard Ramirez”, who said to me: “Al, no one in this world knows more about the “Stalker” case than me.” And secondly, I had the great pleasure of speaking at length with retired Sheriff Homicide Detective Lieutenant Gil Carrillo, lead detective on the Stalker case who along with Det. Frank Salerno, gave of themselves to find this killer almost to the point of a nervous breakdown. The pair were the first detectives to interrogate Ramirez at Hollenbeck Police Station right after his arrest.

Author Philip Carlo spent over 100 hours with Richard Ramirez at San Quentin’s Death Row, He was able give me unique insights based on Ramirez’ own words. Here is an excerpt from my interview with author Phil Carlo:

Al DesmadreWhen Richard got off that bus in L.A. that morning and saw his photo on all the papers, how did he react? …

Philip CarloI know exactly what he did. When the police finally identified Ramirez as the Night Stalker, it was through a single fingerprint he left on the outside of a rear view mirror of a car he stole.  That car was found in Mission Viejo and eventually tied to him. Once the fingerprint was fed into a new computer, the first name it spit out was Richard Munoz Ramirez.  While that happened, Ramirez who was in Arizona visiting his brother Robert, got on the bus in the middle of the night to return to Los Angeles. The day was hot. The day was August 31st 1985. That night, on his way back to L.A., there was a storm and a lot of lightning and thunder. And Ramirez was sitting there at the back of the bus not knowing that he was the most wanted man in the world. Not knowing that every cop in Los Angeles was looking for him. But he felt, because of the lightning and thunder,  some evil premonition. Something that told him there was trouble. That Satan was angry at him. It was more or less a fleeting thought, but how true it really was…….

Next, my interview with Lt. Gil Carrillo at the East Los Angeles Sheriff’s Station proved to be so amazing, that I was literally spellbound at one of the most shocking and revealing crime narratives I have ever heard. This interview I have managed to preserve on videotape and will be included as part of my upcoming 25th Anniversary Night Stalker Walking Tour. More about that a little later…

Detectives search for clues left by the Night Stalker

Car stolen by Ramirez near Chinatown and used during murders. Car was later found abandoned near Wilshire district.

This is the owner of the car at the spot from which it was stolen. Ramirez would frequently steal cars to get around the city to commit his capers. One car he stole had been parked at the old Velvet Turtle restaurant located on North Hill Street in Chinatown.

Ramirez’ last run ended in East Los Angeles that morning, on a typical Eastside avenue filled with Saturday morning Raza going about their business. Until a killer in their midst made the street explode into a scene of furious street justice. Ramirez had attempted to steal a car on that street and threatened and punched a woman in the process. And as we all know, “You don’t FUCK with a Mexican’s woman, and you definitely don’t FUCK with a Mexican’s car!” Or as Lt. Carrillo put it to me,..”Al, There are some good Mexicans and there are some bad Mexicans,..the good Mexicans keep a “Pípa” (metal pipe) by the front door, and the bad Mexicans carry guns,….Ramirez was lucky he ran into some good Mexicans that day…” Some luck. Richard Ramirez now sits on Death Row.

In order to commemorate this infamous date in Los Angeles crime history, I have organized a walking tour and retracing of the Stalker’s last steps; “The 25th Anniversary Night Stalker Tour” With numerous stops and sights beginning in Downtown’s Skid Row and a trip to the “Eastside”, culminating on Richard’s street of broken Satanic dreams;…Hubbard Avenue in E.L.A. Along with never before revealed details and materials from the case, speakers and witnesses will relive their “Night Stalker” experiences from that era. Space on the tour is limited. Full details about this event scheduled for Sunday August 29th 2010 are available on the tour website at:


Jose Burgoin, at left, had chased down Ramirez after he tried to steal this sweet red Mustang belonging to Faustino Pinon, right. Photograph by James Ruebsamen. photos from L.A. Times archives and courtesy of Philip Carlo collection.

No way he was getting this car…..Faustino Pinon and Jaime Burgoin

Manuel and Angelina De La Torre. Ramirez tried to carjack her. When she refused to turn over her keys, the Stalker punched her in the stomach. Photograph taken by Chris Gulker.

Arturo Benavidez, owner of Art’s Barber Shop called the cops after Richard Ramirez tried to jack this occupied car in front of his shop. LA Herald photo by Leo Jarzomb.

Rosalio Dimas shown with his trusty garden clippers. He tried to hit Night Stalker Richard Ramirez with it as the Stalker was running through his yard but missed. Ramirez ran the equivalent of a 2 mile sprint that day from downtown to East Los. You won’t believe the escape route Ramirez took that morning..esta Cabron!  Photo by Leo Jarzomb.

Jaime and Julio Burgoin residents of East Hubbard Street in E.L.A. Kick back after a hard day of helping capture the Night Stalker. Photo by Mike Sergieff.

The crowds all gathered at Hollenbeck Police station to try to get a peep of “El Maton”

The Night Stalker in custody. Boo ya.

Ramirez was convicted of 13 murders and was given the death sentence. Lt. Carrillo thinks Ramirez is good for about 6 more killings, but the Stalker ain’t talking. He now exists in San Quentin Prison for the rest of his life where he was married on October 3, 1996 to Doreen Lioy, age 41, a freelance magazine editor for Teen beat magazine who fell for Richard during his trial.

Original drawings, signed by Richard Ramirez the “Night Stalker”



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About AlDesmadre

Al Guerrero, Artist/Humorist. Los Angeles, CA. Born in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico and raised in East Los Angeles from the age of two, Al Guerrero grew up just steps from the famous Chicano strip, Whittier Boulevard. His youth experiences include witnessing and participating in the 1970 Chicano Power demonstrations, cruising cars on Whittier Boulevard, and graduating from Garfield High School. After dropping out of UCLA (with honors), he drew upon his lifelong passion for art and cartooning and pursued a career in graphic arts. During this period, he traveled overseas and found artistic inspiration from the masterworks he discovered within the European Art Museums. His career blossomed when he was eventually hired by the Walt Disney Company in 1995, where he worked as a creative artist for a number of years. Although the artistic work was rewarding, he eventually grew weary & disillusioned with the bureaucracy of the entertainment business, and left to work briefly in the educational field. His credits include producing a feature film with actor, Conrad Brooks of Ed Wood fame, founding and performing with the Punk Rock group “The Psychocats” at numerous L.A. & Hollywood venues during the 1990’s, and in 1999 he founded and created a hell-bent puppet cabaret show aptly named: “The Puppets from Hell”. As a long time active member of the Los Angeles Cacophony Society, Al “Quaeda”, as he was known, was involved in countless Cacophony Society pranks and events throughout the city. He also produced the “Incredibly Strange Cinema” cult film series as well as themed events such as the now infamous “Pornothon Movie Nights” and the satirical “Mexican Night: Noche De Tequila & Putas” shows at local nightclub venues. Throughout his art career, he has exhibited his canvas paintings at various local galleries, and has also written & illustrated numerous comic strips and Graphic Novel stories. Today, he lives in Silver Lake, California and works as a freelance artist and writer with numerous multi-media projects under his belt and in the works. His personal hobbies include collecting vintage toys and comic books, cinema history and Los Angeles City history. Contact: alguerrero@earthlink.net Al Guerrero P.O. Box 29697 Los Angeles, CA 90029-0697 www.alguerrero.com Myspace.com/thepuppetsfromhell

16 thoughts on ““The Night Stalker” 25th Anniversary 1985-2010 and Walking Tour August 29th

  1. I remember hearing stories about Richard Ramirez,I didn’t know what to believe until I read about him. Something about this case that sparked everyone’s interest.Perhaps that he cut to close to home?

    I have mixed feelings about this post…..I think about his poor victims and the victim’s family….But the other part of me feels compelled to want to know more…

  2. Many of us are fascinated with what makes these monsters tick. I can tell you that I personally feel a sense of celebration for the day Ramirez was caught, and in my own way, I want to express my gratitude and admiration for all the people involved in his capture. Both civilian and law enforcement. People need to be recognized for their individual heroism. As far as the tour, I am purposely choosing not to visit any of the crime scenes out of respect for the spirits of those who dwelt there and I have also chosen to use this project to benefit and support our local victim support organizations such as the Victim-Witness Assistance program through the D.A.’s office.

  3. Dude! My girlfriend at the time of his arrest lived on Cummings and 2nd. We were taking her home from lunch with friends and couldn’t get to her house due to all the traffic of people trying to catch a glimpse of the Nightstalker, as he was taken into custody at Hollenbeck.

    About 6 years ago I worked with director Juan Garza on his film “Never Trust A Serial Killer.” It is about Del Zamora’s character tracking the Nightstalker and is both funny and somewhat historically accurate. The scene of Raza chasing down the Nightstalker still gives me chills.

    I have a copy of that film on VHS. I would love to share it with you. Maybe we could show it to a group and I could ask Garza if he could share his own research in the making of this film. I believe he interviewed some of the same people you did.

  4. One of his early victims was near where I grew up in SSG. It was before people were scared of him, because the pattern hadn’t been established. The murder, however, was gruesome, with satanic symbols left behind.

    Back then, “satanism” was a big deal. Christian fundamentalism was resurgent, and they were going after metal acts like Ozzy, Black Sabbath, and Judas Priest. (I guess the bands were attacking the Anglican Church, too.)

    This murder was going around, and it appeared that he really did worship Satan. It was frightening as the murders mounted. They were happening around the San Gabriel Valley, all short distances from home.

    The media played up the satanism angle, and the night stalker helped them by putting pentagrams up where he went.

    It pretty much ended the whole youth culture project of using Satan’s name to be badass.

  5. Who could forget that summer. Had to sleep with the fucking windows closed and no air conditioning because the Nightstalker was out there. Think about that every time there’s a heatwave and I leave the windows open at night.

  6. I live up North. I was 12 years old that summer and visiting my family in L.A. I had already heard little bit about the Night Stalker before I left but when I got to my Grandma’s house in L.A that is all anybody was talking about. It was on the news, everybody was telling everybody else to lock their doors and windows. I had to go in the house hella early. I remember I used to sleep with a knife under my pillow.
    When I got back home to San Jose the news said the Night Stalker was in San Francisco, man that shit freaked me out. I thought he followed me home. I still remember how happy I was to hear that he got a beat down by the all those people. And he lived up to how freaky he really was. The guy looked pretty psycho.

    Good post. I still watch any documentries they have on T.V about Ramirez. Philip Carlo’s book on the Ice Man was a good read. He seems to pick these guy’s minds pretty good. I’ll have to pick up the Ramirez book.

  7. I remember the fear that was in the air, a very uneasy feeling at night especially. i remember one victim was murdered in Monterey Park, very close to East L A!! My friend’s cousin went to high school in El Paso Texas with Richard Ramirez, he said Richard was very quiet, kind of nerdy, got picked on a lot.

  8. As a child, Richard Ramirez was severely neglected. He was also an epileptic who was psychologically, and, for all intents and purposes, sexually abused by his uncle. Evidently, on top of that, he was tormented by his peers in school. I would submit all of the above as things that likely contributed to what he became as an adult.

  9. I remember, during that time, me and 2 of my buddies wanted 2 do a sleep over @ 1 of our houses with no parents around. My 1 friend’s folks were gone so we stood @ his house. We were all 12 yrs old and thought for sure the Night Stalker was coming for us since we lived in So. San Gabriel and just a few minutes from one of RR’s victim’s neighborhood. We proceeded to arm ourselves with knifes, hammers, rocks, etc. We fortified the pad by pushing tables to the doors and making booby traps around the windows. We turned off all the lights, decided to sleep in shifts, & began to wait for the inevitable showdown with Satan’s little helper. @ around 3am, we were all abruptly awoken(so much 4 keeping post) by the sound of a door opening and a tall figure entering. To Arms! & turn on your freakin’ flashlights you fools!… Oh snap! We nearly pounced on my friend’s father who decided to come home after all. Woooh, that was an intense summer.

  10. It will be a little sad if there is more activity on August 29 to commemorate the apprehension of Richard Ramirez than to remember the 40th anniversary of the death of Ruben Salazar at the hands of the Sheriff’s department. However, I had been teaching at Stevenson Junior High for a few years in 1985 and I remember that in a neighborhood decimated by the economic downturn of the Reagan Era and torn apart by an escalating homicide rate, there was a certain sardonic hangdog pride among my students that the satanic boogeyman’s reign of terror was brought to an end by a ragged group of vecinos armed with fence posts and gardening equpment as opposed to the increasingly paramilitary LAPD.

    Of course, the real irony is that the genuine evil that greatly transformed our communities at that time ended up in the story below the fold. An American foreign policy that exacerbated murderous civil wars in Central America and led to hundreds of thousands of refugees settling in barrios across the Southwest….and what is the angle to the Time’s article?…that somehow it was American marines that were the victims and not the perpetrators of this terror.

    p.s. On a fashion note. check out the short shorts sported by Julio and Jaime Burgoin in the separate photos. Would any man, other than a competitive swimmer, be caught dead wearing shorts like that in public nowadays?

  11. Though I grew up in Boyle Heights and not East L.A., I think there was a collective pride from the fact that the “Night Stalker” got his butt handed to him, at long last, in the Eastside.

  12. Why is he still alive?
    Why was he allowed to marry?
    What kind of crazy bitch would marry him?

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