Crime

Carjacking video shows Miami suspect ramming people, cars

Hotel and valet employees survey the damaged cars at the scene where several people were struck by a carjacker as he raced out of the JW Marriott Marquis in a late model luxury car on Wednesday, September 24, 2014 in downtown Miami.
Hotel and valet employees survey the damaged cars at the scene where several people were struck by a carjacker as he raced out of the JW Marriott Marquis in a late model luxury car on Wednesday, September 24, 2014 in downtown Miami. MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Surveillance video of Wednesday’s chaotic carjacking at a downtown Miami hotel shows a man police identified as Alberto Ruiz slowly taking control of a vehicle before lurching backward and forward several times while crumpling cars and ramming people in his path.

In the brief but clear video turned over to police by the J.W. Marriott Marquis Hotel, Ruiz enters the picture on the bottom left corner of the screen and walks slowly toward a new, charcoal gray Lexus RX 350. The driver’s side door and the trunk area are already open, and a woman standing next to the car is holding balloons.

As Ruiz enters the car, he slams it into reverse, knocking over a luggage rack and two valets who were unloading bags from the trunk. The vehicle then lurches forward, striking another person even as the car’s owner — still carrying the balloons — tries to grab the door handle.

Ruiz, 50, pushes her away and then lurches the car backward, pinning a man. Then he moves forward again, this time smashing the car’s front left bumper into the back right bumper of another car. The Lexus exits the hotel’s tight circular valet ramp and heads toward Biscayne Boulevard.

Miami police captured Ruiz a little over 10 hours later in a Little Havana hotel room. He has been charged with carjacking, attempted murder and aggravated battery.

During the frightening few minutes at the hotel entrance as, police say, Ruiz commandeered the Lexus, he hit seven people and rammed into four vehicles. Four of the injured were taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital. One was in serious condition late Wednesday at the hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center.

From the start, police believed it was Ruiz who stole the car. That belief was bolstered late Wednesday afternoon when several witnesses identified him through photographs supplied by police.

When police finally surrounded Ruiz just past 8:30 p.m., outside room 10 at the Ramona Motel at 3301 W. Flagler St., he ducked into the room and tried to slam the door shut. Police entered the room and took Ruiz into custody.

Ruiz, who lives at 537 SW 10th St., has an extensive criminal history. His arrests take up 22 pages and date back to 1983, when he was first arrested for stealing a car at the age of 19.

A year later, Ruiz was arrested and charged with homicide. Subsequent arrests involved more stolen vehicles, drug possession, grand larceny and grand theft.

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