Grandmother killed during kidnapping attempt

September 23, 2008 5:44:53 PM PDT
One person is dead and two others are wounded after police say a man tried to kidnap his four children. An Amber Alert, issued Tuesday morning, was cancelled by late afternoon. But officers in Cleveland still have a lot of questions. Four children, ages seven months to three years old, and their mother were returned safely after they were taken from a family member's home at gunpoint. But police are still looking for that alleged gunman, a man who apparently has a long and questionable history with this family.

It all began around 5am Tuesday. Police say Amy Contreras and her four small children were staying at her mother's house when her estranged husband, Ramiro Contreras, barged into the home, opening fire.

Family members say at least one of the shots struck the children's grandmother, killing her. The victim's sons are outraged by what they're calling a miscarriage of justice.

Family member Jeff Swearingen said, "The police need to get up off their *** and do something when they're called. Maybe this could be prevented."

Jimmy Swearingen, Amy's brother, ended up being shot in the shoulder.

"He didn't say nothing when he walked in the door," Jimmy recalled. "He walked in the door, he went to the bathroom, shot my mom, came to my room, and shot me twice."

After the shooting, police say Contreras took his wife and kids and fled. For nearly 10 hours, police searched, prompting an Amber Alert. It wasn't until 3pm that Amy and her kids were dropped off at a neighbor's house. Ramiro was nowhere to be found.

Relatives say Amy had reported her husband several times to police, but each time, he was let go.

"The cops know it. They've been called." Relative Larry Swearingen insisted Amy had a restraining order. "It don't do no good!"

Eyewitness News checked and found that Ramiro does have one previous charge, for burglary of a building. He served probation in that case. Now he is facing multiple charges. Police say Ramiro is considered armed and dangerous. If you know of his whereabouts, you're advised to call 911.

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