LAKE FOREST, Calif. – A man who allegedly shot his estranged wife in the face and fled with his 9-year-old son may have switched his car for a motor home, authorities said Thursday.
An Amber Alert was in effect throughout California for Lonnie Ramos, 46. He was believed to be driving a rented 39-foot purple-and-gold Fleetwood Providence motor home with the license plate number 5EGW556, the Orange County Sheriff's Department said.
Ramos was possibly in the San Diego area and Border Patrol agents were notified in case he tried to head for Mexico, sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino said.
Amormino said Ramos was considered "armed and extremely dangerous."
Ramos apparently jumped out from behind a car or bushes and shot his estranged wife in the face with a semiautomatic weapon about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday when she drove to his home in the Portola Hills area to pick up their son, Ryan, for a custody exchange, Amormino said.
The 41-year-old woman, whose name was withheld, was critically wounded but was expected to survive, he said.
A friend and the friend's 4-year-old daughter were in the car but were not hurt, Amormino said. The three drove to a shopping center to get help.
Authorities at first said Ramos might be driving a red convertible Porsche or a white Chevrolet Suburban, but Amormino said someone in Orange County saw a news report about Ramos and reported that he rented Ramos the motor home.
A housemate of Ramos urged him to return the boy.
"Be a man. Turn yourself in," Randy Jick said during a KCAL-TV news broadcast.
"Bring Ryan back. Ryan doesn't deserve this," he said.
He said he did not believe that Ramos would hurt the boy, who recently went to Legoland with his father.
"The last week that I saw them together, they were, like, unseparable," the friend said.
Jick said Ramos lost a sales job several months ago and couldn't pay his bills. Jick said the house he and Ramos co-own was being sold.
Amormino also said there had been repeated disputes during custody exchanges in the past.