Gwinnett man who shot daughter, himself told brother to plan his funeral

An officer discovered the bodies Saturday evening while patrolling a Gwinnett County park.
An officer discovered the bodies Saturday evening while patrolling a Gwinnett County park.

Credit: Gwinnett County Police Department

Credit: Gwinnett County Police Department

A Gwinnett County man who killed his 11-year-old daughter and himself sent a cryptic message to his brother hours earlier telling him to plan his funeral, authorities said.

An officer discovered the bodies of 45-year-old Ignacio Ramos and 11-year-old Valeria Ramos shortly before midnight Saturday while patrolling Bethesda Park near Lawrenceville, Gwinnett police said. The officer initially believed he’d come across a man sleeping inside his car in the parking lot, but then found the father and daughter shot to death inside the Toyota Camry.

Ignacio Ramos was in the driver’s seat with a gun in his lap. Valeria was seated next to him, authorities said. The shooting remains under investigation, but Gwinnett detectives have ruled the case a murder-suicide.

ExploreCops: Man kills 11-year-old daughter, self at Gwinnett park

Hours before the grisly discovery, Ignacio Ramos’ brother called police to a home near Grayson after receiving a bizarre text message, according to an incident report.

He told officers that Ramos messaged him about 7:40 p.m. and said the family should begin making funeral arrangements for him. According to the incident report, Ramos said he was upset because his girlfriend “went to a party without telling him first.”

He left the home with his daughter, but Ramos’ brother said he was unable to reach him after receiving the message, according to the report. He later told investigators that Ignacio Ramos never expressed any suicidal thoughts or plans of harming others.

A spokesperson for the Gwinnett County School District confirmed Valeria was a student at Camp Creek Elementary in Lilburn. In a letter sent to parents Tuesday, Principal Valerie Robinett informed them of the student’s death and said grief counselors were available for anyone struggling with the loss.

“It is with deep regret that we inform that we have learned that one of our students passed away this past weekend,” the letter read. “All of us at Camp Creek Elementary are deeply saddened by this news and want to be sure our school family is aware of this loss, as we know that news of this situation is being reported by local news media.”

The letter didn’t mention Valeria by name, but said she had been a Camp Creek student since starting school.

“We know that the loss of such a young life is sure to raise many emotions and our students and staff may need support during this time,” the principal wrote. “We are notifying our staff this afternoon of this loss so that they will be ready to help our kids, keeping an eye out for any students who are struggling. In addition, our counselors are available to help students at school.”

She said grief counselors would meet with the girl’s classmates, and the letter included tips about helping young students cope with death.

Attempts to reach Valeria’s family for comment Thursday were unsuccessful.

Gwinnett police said they’re still working to determine a motive in the case and are hoping to locate witnesses who may have been in the park that evening. Anyone with information is asked to call detectives at 770-513-5300. Tipsters wishing to remain anonymous are asked to call Crime Stoppers at 404-577-8477, text information to 274637 or visit the Crime Stoppers website.

— Staff writer Jeremy Redmon contributed to this article.

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