The sole survivor in an alleged mistaken-identity gang retaliation shooting took the witness stand Wednesday, providing details in the 2008 death of his father and two brothers.
With his mother crying in the front row, 21-year-old Andrew Bologna told jurors that Edwin Ramos was the man who brandished a chrome handgun from the driver’s seat of a charcoal gray Chrysler 300 and opened fire at his family’s Honda Civic. Bologna’s father Anthony, 48, and his brothers, Michael, 20, and Matthew, 16, were killed.
Ramos, 25, an alleged member of MS-13, is on trial for three counts of murder and one count of attempted murder. Prosecutors say he seeking to retaliate for the shooting of another gang member earlier that day.
“He was staring at my dad, mugging him, giving him a mean look, and that’s when he pulled out a gun,” Bologna told jurors. Andrew, who was then 18, had been sitting behind his father.
“He shot in my dad’s window first,” Bologna said, as both he and his mother, Danielle, broke into tears. “I immediately ducked, that was my first instinct,” he added, saying he then heard more gunshots.
“It was real quick,” he said.
The Bolognas had been blocks from their Excelsior District home on the afternoon of June 22, 2008, after returning to The City from a family barbecue in Fairfield.
Bologna testified that Ramos’ Chrysler blocked the intersection at Congdon and Maynard streets. The Chrysler then turned slowly and stopped alongside their Civic, about 12 to 15 inches away, he said. No words were exchanged, he testified, before Ramos began shooting.
Afterward, the Bologna’s car rolled backward down the street, crashing into a parked automobile. A few seconds later, Andrew said, he emerged from the car, saw the Chrysler speed off, and looked in horror at the scene.
“I didn’t know what was going on,” he testified, his voice beginning to falter. “It was like a movie. They shot my family like that. It doesn’t make sense.”
Shown photos of his father and brothers, Bologna and his mother began weeping uncontrollably and a brief recess was called.
Danielle Bologna, who has declined comment during the trial, issued a statement Wednesday through a family friend.
“I am extremely proud of my son today,” she said. “Testifying in such a stressful circumstance shows his courage and strength to fight for justice for his family.”
Defense attorneys for Ramos — who maintain that a passenger in his car was the shooter and that Ramos had no idea of the man’s intentions — spent much of the cross-examination of Bologna going over differences between his initial statements to police, his testimony at a 2009 preliminary hearing, and his testimony Wednesday.
Eyewitness recall is sometimes problematic, especially in stressful, split-second situations, they noted outside court.
Minutes after the shootings, police arrived on scene and interviewed Andrew Bologna. Witnesses also came to his aid. An audio recording was played in court Wednesday.
“He was trying to block us off. He was mugging us. He just started popping at us. We don’t even know him,” Andrew Bologna, weeping, tells police.
“He was just looking at us funny. And he had it on him, I already knew he had it on him. He just pulled it out,” Bologna says of the driver pulling a gun. “It was just some random dude.”
Bologna describes the shooter as having short hair and a thick, bushy mustache. A sketch he later helped create resembled Ramos’ description at the time.
“You’re going to be okay,” an unidentified woman tells a sobbing Andrew Bologna. “Don’t let this make you hate … we’ll pray for you and your family.” Bologna is heard weeping, “Oh my God.”