Mother of slain Youngstown woman: ‘Do not play with guns’ | News, Sports, Jobs

Annette K. Brown


Submitted picture…
Nivea Ramos, remaining, is proven with her daughter, Crystal Hernandez, taken when Hernandez was about 16 several years aged.


YOUNGSTOWN — Nivea Ramos and her daughter, Crystal Hernandez, place a experience on the violence that has taken so a lot of life in Youngstown.

The encounter of Hernandez is of a youthful girl who enjoyed applying make-up and putting up glamorous photographs of herself on social media — a young mom, 23, who moved to Youngstown as a teen soon after expanding up elsewhere.

The face of Ramos is that of a female whose motive for coming from out-of-condition to Youngstown previous year was that Hernandez, her daughter — “my sunshine” — was murdered right here, and a single of the murderers was on trial.

Just after Larenz Rhodes, 20, was convicted, Ramos stood with her brother, Christian, and experienced just the correct point to say, telling the 6 “kids” who killed her daughter and other region boys: “Do not play with guns.”

Hernandez experienced a son with Gabriel Smith Sr., and they lived in an East Facet apartment. Ramos mentioned she really liked Smith when she satisfied him as a 16-calendar year-previous, but he was “too young” to be a father at age 17.

“He was immature,” she explained. He and Hernandez lived with each other on and off.

WHAT Happened

Hernandez was shot to loss of life in her condominium for the reason that of a feud involving Smith, then 19, and numerous other young males from the city that boiled over early Jan. 24, 2019, and resulted in gunfire in the early morning, later in the working day and while Hernandez and her 2-year-old son were being by yourself in their apartment that evening.

Prosecutors say they do not consider the six shooters, all around the exact same age as Smith, understood who was inside the condominium but fired in any case to acquire revenge on Smith, who was not dwelling.

Surveillance movie captured the shooters leaving the location on foot just after they fired extra than 53 shots into the apartment. Hernandez, 23, was located shot to death — her son, 2, asleep on her upper body unharmed.

Assistant Mahoning County Prosecutor Kevin Trapp said an AK-47 assault rifle fired by Rhodes 25 periods was the murder weapon. He bought a life jail sentence, but the other 5 shooters had been sentenced to concerning 20 and 23 many years in prison March 26.

Smith received 5 several years in prison in late 2019 for his part in the feud.


On the working day of the five sentencings, Ramos explained she experienced hoped that an apology or two could make her really feel much better, but it was tough to acquire significantly comfort from what was reported, other than the phrases of Choose Anthony Donofrio of Mahoning County Frequent Pleas Court docket.

In an job interview past previous 7 days, Ramos stated the prison instances in opposition to the 6 younger adult men are above but not the fallout from what transpired.

“I know there will however be some bumps in the street from what happened to Crystal, not sentencing-sensible with the boys that killed Crystal but maybe with the toddler and (Smith),” she said. “One episode ends and another episode commences.”

Ramos’ grandson’s identify is Gabriel Smith Jr., but she phone calls him “Baby.” She says it will not be long before Smith leaves prison.

Ramos doesn’t want her locale disclosed. She claimed coming to Youngstown for Hernandez’s funeral, the Rhodes trial and at other times served her comprehend far more about Youngstown and how folks felt about her daughter.

Just after the demo, Ramos went to the mall with some of her other little ones, and a female approached her to discuss about the gun remarks Ramos experienced made.

“The lady stated, ‘I have a son who has gotten into difficulties with guns.’ I bought chills coming down my backbone. She reported. ‘keep likely. You’re accomplishing a wonderful occupation by indicating points out there. With your story, you are likely to make a difference.’ I was so impacted,” Ramos explained.

Ramos would appreciate to make a favourable influence on the Youngstown space by conversing about her daughter and what happened to her, but she is also nervous about currently being “out there.”

“I’m outspoken. I appreciate daily life. I’m whole of lifetime, as was Crystal. I like persons. I like conversing to individuals. That is me. I just can’t assistance it,” she claimed.

At her daughter’s funeral, a woman who worked with Hernandez at a Youngstown get in touch with middle explained to Ramos how a lot she liked Hernandez.

“I achieved so quite a few people today. So several individuals impacted me that loved Crystal,” Ramos said.

She remembered people men and women and what they mentioned when Ramos gave her sufferer impact assertion the day of the sentencings.

“I required to make a change in any individual else’s child’s life,” she stated. “And all these guns and all of the things that is likely on. I would really like to are living in Youngstown (to enable cut down violence), but I just cannot.”

Lacking HER

Amid her remarks at the sentencing: “No question if you realized Crystal you would instantaneously turn out to be her pal since she was really well-known and pretty effectively-preferred by her friends. Crystal was entire of lifestyle, she was outspoken, an great mom, daughter, sister, niece and an great granddaughter.”

Ramos reported her daughter was a “good kid” increasing up, “never experienced any troubles with her, no drug issues.” She claimed she heard a story from another person who understood her in Youngstown about her daughter giving a spare vehicle seat she experienced to one more female who did not have just one.

“Crystal is just like me, and I definitely skip her. I don’t want to get psychological but I skip her. She was in excess of there in Youngstown, and I was above in this article, but we stayed in contact. She would call me. We video clip chat. She put the baby on.”

She claimed when you have young children who are younger grown ups, you never know every little thing about their life.

“Do we know our kids’ good friends, all of them? Do we go out interviewing these other children? We never,” she said.

Hernandez moved to Youngstown about six yrs ago and completed substantial college in this article. In addition to the get in touch with centre occupation, she did makeup for other men and women — younger girls, brides.

Inspite of the unhappiness of remembering her daughter’s everyday living currently being cut small and her grandson not getting his mother, she can take consolation in getting tons of images and videos of her daughter, some of which she was capable to copy from social media accounts.

“I believe in photos and films simply because of what took place to Crystal,” she reported. “I have so numerous pics of Crystal increasing up. I’m so pleased I have these pictures and video clips and I am able to share them with the infant.

“That’s what keeps me going and determined. Persons are like, ‘Oh my God you’re generally getting photos.’ I’m like yes I do, and now you know why I acquire films and pictures.”

Point of view

Ramos claimed she received a unique point of view on the youthful guys dependable for killing her daughter when she saw them and read them communicate in court docket. She initially listened to that gang associates killed her daughter, but a improved description of them is “broken.”

“These young children are deserted. They arrive from families that are broken. I sort of felt sorry for them, but at the similar time I never because why would a single human try out to hurt yet another human?

“I would like to know the cause of it. Was it drug related? Had been you smoking cigarettes? Why would you go to somebody’s household and shoot? They must have been on medicines. There was no place. Why would I be in my appropriate mind, go to somebody’s house and just shoot with a gun. Just for enjoyable?”

She claimed she thinks a root cause is absence of possibility.

“There is very little to do in Youngstown,” she claimed. “I’ve in no way lived in Ohio. I have household members who lived there. Which is how Crystal received there. She was born in Alaska. She’s hardly ever been close to that type of atmosphere.”

Her guidance to moms and dads in any locale is to clearly show them adore.

“Always be by your child’s aspect,” she explained. “Even if your baby is an adult, usually be by their aspect. They are an adult, but they are your kid, no make a difference what. They’re an adult, but you can never ever be far too active to be in your adult child’s lifestyle.

“I tell my children you’re an adult but I have to have to know in which you are at. I have a 19-calendar year-aged as very well, and he’s moved out. But I just can’t stress it enough. I often call and make sure he’s Okay, if he needs one thing.

“You just cannot live your children’s lives. They are heading to select their highway no subject what. Figuring out your kid will make a difference.”

She additional, “Be generally Mommy, even if they are an grownup. Be their dad, be their close friend because which is all they want when they are grown ups.”

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