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Empire State Building shooting victim speaks exclusively to The Bronx Times Reporter

Bronx Times

Alberto Ramos never felt the bullet go in.

The Throggs Neck local just kept running after the shots rang out at the Empire State Building shooting on Friday, August 23.

In an exclusive interview, Ramos, 20, recounted the mayhem that left him and eight other bystanders accidentally shot by police, who killed a suited madman.

It was supposed to be a normal day for Ramos, a supervisor at Gray Line Tours, which offers sightseeing tours atop the Empire State Building’s observatory.

Ramos, a student at Hostos Community College, had been looking forward to that day - “pay day” as he recalled.

But his morning flipped upside down after hearing police stop Jeffrey Johnson, who was steps away from him and fellow ticket agent, Petrus McFarlane.

“I heard a cop say ‘Stop right there!” said Ramos, who had been sitting on a bench with Petrus while going over the day’s schedule.

The pair turned and saw Johnson flash a gun at police. Ramos’ instinct quickly kicked in.

“I grabbed my agent and we just ran,” said Ramos. “That’s when the shots started ringing out...POP, POP, POP!”

Ramos immediately darted, sprinting down West 34th Street with Petrus in tow. He said he heard what he believed was a bullet whizz past his left ear.

But then he felt a sharp sting in his left heel.

“I remember getting hit and falling near the Heartland Brewery,” said Ramos, who didn’t realize he was hit until he started seeing blood pouring out of his shoe.

“At first you don’t feel it at all,” said Ramos. “Within ten seconds that’s when you feel a lot of throbbing.”

A crowd huddled over Ramos. Minutes later sirens blared, cops cordoned off the street, and ambulance crews arrived to the scene.

But before they arrived, Ramos called his mother, Janina Perez, on his cell phone to tell her he was okay.

She then called her husband Robert Perez, an MTA inspector who was blocks away from the scene.

“It’s the last phone call you want to get,” said Perez, Ramos’ stepdad. “I thought he was dead.”

Ramos was rushed to a local hospital emergency room, where doctors found the bullet burrowed into his ankle, destroying tissue.

“Pieces of my shoe and sock was still in there,” said Ramos, who spent a day at the hospital.

Family members paid him a visit. Callers left 69 text messages and “even more missed calls.”

Ramos even got a surprise visit by Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who wished Ramos a speedy recovery while touting his anti-gun position.

“He was talking about how there are too many guns out in the streets.”

Like Commissioner Ray Kelly, Ramos stood by the officers who shot him and eight others.

“I don’t blame them at all,” said Ramos.

His future job plan, he said, is to become a New York City cop.

Reporter David Cruz at 718-742-3383.

David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at DCruz@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3383

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