James Ramseur, 45, dies 27 years after being shot by ‘subway vigilante’ Bernhard Goetz

One of the teens wounded by “subway vigilante” Bernhard Goetz died of an apparent drug overdose in a seedy Bronx motel room Thursday — 27 years to the day after the infamous shooting.

James Ramseur, 45, was found dead in bed at the Paradise Motor Inn at 2990 Boston Road about 11 a.m., sources said.

(This story appeared in The New York Daily News on Dec. 24, 2011.)

Two empty prescription pill bottles were found next to the bed with their labels scratched off, sources said.

The death is being investigated as an apparent overdose and possible suicide, sources said.

Ramseur checked into the motel Tuesday and was supposed to check out Thursday morning, sources said.

When Ramseur failed to return his room key, the motel manager entered the room and found his clothed corpse.

The troubled Bronx native — his years in the media limelight far behind him — did not leave a suicide note.

Police learned of Ramseur’s involvement in the Goetz shooting from his sister, who they called to notify of his death, sources said.

Ramseur, an ex-con released from prison last year following a 25-year stint upstate for rape, was one of four black teens shot by Goetz on the 2 train on Dec. 22, 1984.

Goetz said he opened fire because the teens tried to rob him — a claim that left New Yorkers divided over whether he was a hero fed up with subway crime or a racist who overreacted.

The teens claimed they had simply asked Goetz for $5.

Ramseur had been holding a screwdriver during the controversial shooting, and took a slug in the chest.

He fell into a coma afterward and underwent multiple surgeries — but the convicted petty thief quickly returned to a life of crime.

Three months after the incident, Ramseur, then 18, was arrested for falsely reporting his own kidnapping to police.

Two months after that, cops busted him for helping to rape a pregnant teen at gunpoint in the Claremont Village housing project in the Bronx.

Even his father, also named James, acted out at the rape trial, shaping his hand like a gun and pretending to shoot at a witness on the stand.

And at Goetz’s trial, Ramseur was held in contempt of court at least six times for refusing to testify.

He acted belligerently each time he took the stand, denouncing the legal system before being ushered out by armed guards.

Ramseur was convicted of all the crimes he committed after the Goetz shooting. He served his full prison stint upstate and was released on Aug. 26, 2010.

A predominantly white jury acquitted Goetz of all but illegal weapons possession, for which he served 250 days on Rikers Island.

Goetz, who still lives in the city, could not be reached for comment.

Advertisements

About Died and yet ...

Fascinating people die every day, some well-known, some not so known. People's obituaries are often the only things written about their rich, varied, interesting lives. This blog celebrates the large and small among us, without whom our experiences wouldn't be as meaningful.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: