Police ID suspect in 7-Eleven shooting

Joel StoningtonAspen, CO Colorado
Ricardo Ramirez

BASALT Basalt police have issued a felony warrant for the alleged triggerman in Basalt’s 7-Eleven shooting.Ricardo Ramirez, 22, is wanted for criminal attempt at first-degree assault and felony menacing related to the June shooting in downtown Basalt, which injured no one. Basalt Police Chief Keith Ikeda said a number of clues led to Ramirez, but that he disappeared soon after the shooting. On June 26, police said two Latino males came into the 7-Eleven and got into an argument with cashier Bruno Kirchenwitz regarding a hat emblazoned with “U.S. Border Patrol,” which he sometimes wore. Police spoke with the first Latino male, described as a “person of interest,” soon after that night.

“[Ramirez] purchased some items there with his credit card when he was in that verbal altercation,” Ikeda said. “The first person of interest gave us the first name as Ricardo but didn’t know his last name.”Kirchenwitz said the men threatened to show him what they felt about the hat and warned that they would hang around outside the store until he left work that night. They departed a short time later without incident. Kirchenwitz’s shift ended at 10 p.m., and he left the store. Five shots were fired through a front window into the cashier’s area of the store at 11:10 p.m. None of the five people in the store at the time, including a different cashier, was injured. Authorities don’t know if the shots came from inside a vehicle, so they’re not calling the case a drive-by shooting.Shell casings found at the scene were 30 millimeter, a size that Ikeda said is typically fired from an M-1 rifle. On July 11, police searched Ramirez’s home in El Jebel and found an M-1.

Police sent the gun found at Ramirez’s home to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation laboratory for ballistics testing on July 13, though Ikeda said he is still waiting to hear about results on the test.A car seen speeding away from Two Rivers Road after the shooting may be the same car the two Latino males departed in after they had words with Kirchenwitz, according to police.Ikeda said police have been able to identify Ramirez from the security video in the 7-Eleven and through witness accounts of the car involved. He said Ramirez’s tan 1996 Honda Civic with Colorado license plate 070 ESN was similar to the car seen leaving the 7-Eleven after the shooting. Ikeda said no witnesses saw the license plate number.

The arrest warrant for Ramirez, with a $500,000 bond, was issued July 13. For the past two weeks, the department and other local law enforcement agencies have been trying to find and arrest Ramirez without success. Ikeda said police believe he may be in the area of Meeker or Rifle because he used to be employed in that area. Kirchenwitz was fired from his job July 9. Margaret Chabris, a 7-Eleven spokeswoman, declined comment Monday because it is a personnel issue, citing corporate policy. In general, she said, employees can be terminated after an investigation explores their relations with customers and fellow workers.Joel Stonington’s e-mail address is