Crowd captures ‘Night Stalker’

Aug. 31, 1985: “California can breathe a sigh of relief tonight,” Mayor Tom Bradley said after East Los Angeles residents captured the “Night Stalker.”

Richard Ramirez, a 25-year-old drifter who police believed was involved in satanic worship, “spread terror throughout California this summer by sneaking into darkened houses through unlocked windows and doors to attack his victims,” The Times reported.

He was suspected of killing 16 people and assaulting at least 21 others. Some of the victims were shot to death; others were bludgeoned with hammers, or their throats were slashed.

“At one crime scene, a woman victim had her eyeballs gouged out, sources said.”


“More than once, investigators said, they discovered spray-painted pentagrams on inside walls of victims’ homes. Such symbols are said to be used by Satan worshippers to represent the devil’s horns.”

After striking a woman on an East Los Angeles street as he tried to grab her keys, Ramirez was chased by her husband, who beat Ramirez with a steel rod, The Times reported. Several neighbors joined in the pursuit and quickly cornered Ramirez.

“ ‘Thank God, you came,’ the beaten and exhausted Ramirez told an officer who took him into custody.”