‘Oh God, oh my God’ says security guard as Alex Cherp lay fatally injured in 911 call
Alexander “Alex” Cherp’s dying moans could be heard as a jury listened on Tuesday morning to the recorded 911 call made by the security guard who found him just before midnight on Feb. 4, 2017, suffering from gunshot wounds.
“Hey buddy, can you hear me,”Miguel Ramos, asked Cherp. “Can you hear me? Did you get shot, man?”
The 23-year-old victim continued to moan, unable to speak.
The recording was played Tuesday in the trial of Alan Baily, who is charged with killing Cherp.
Ramos, a security guard with U.S. Security, was making his assigned rounds in Lakewood Ranch when he found Cherp laying alongside his silver Mercedes-Benz near the front of Greenbrook Park. Ramos, who could tell Cherp had been shot in the head and saw at least one bullet hole in the Mercedes, initially got back into his vehicle to call 911, afraid of being shot as well, but he later returned to the victim’s side.
“I’ve never seen anything like this before and I am flipping out because I don’t want him to die,” Ramos told the dispatcher. “He’s moving, like his jaw.”
Within moments, as he was helping the dispatcher to count Cherp’s breaths, Ramos could see the lights as sheriff’s deputies approached.
The trial of Baily, one of two suspects charged with first-degree murder and attempted armed robbery in Cherps’s death, got underway on Monday. After the panel of 12 jurors and one alternate was selected, they heard opening statements from both sides and from the state’s first witness, Priyam Patel, the victim’s girlfriend. The two had been together earlier in the night when Cherp texted Baily about buying some marijuana.
Testimony resumed Tuesday morning with Ramos’ testimony, including the recording of his 911 call.
By the time the first patrol deputy, Kevin Vreeland, arrived, Cherp was already beyond the deputy’s basic life-saving skills, he testified later Tuesday morning.
“I noticed he was bleeding from his head. It would appear like two gunshot wounds to the head,” Vreeland said. “He was lying next to the car.”
Paramedics arrived at the scene, and rendered aid before Cherp was taken to Tampa General Hospital where he later died.
Homicide detectives were quickly able to develop Baily as a suspect after going to Cherp’s home in Sarasota. His cell phone had not been found at the scene, but the his mother was able to give detectives access to the online phone records, Manatee County Sheriff’s Office detective Daniel Dickerman explained for the jury. One of the last phones numbers Cherp had been in contact with was traced back to Baily’s mother.
Detectives went to Baily’s home in Lakewood Ranch, less than a mile from Greenbrook Park. Jurors listened to an audio recording of their brief interview with Baily after his father admitted that he had not been home the night before.
At first, Baily told detectives that it had been a couple days since he had seen Cherp and that he had not spoken with him the previous day. But after being read his rights and being told that detectives had seen Cherp’s cell phone records, Baily changed his story.
“I don’t why this incident just gets thrown on me,” Baily said. “I was trying to get with him yesterday.”
But Baily claimed that he never actually met up with Cherp, and was with other people, although he couldn’t provide their names.
Baily’s co-defendant, Jose Hernandez, took a plea deal in the case in October, pleading no contest to second-degree murder and attempted armed robbery in exchange for a 43-year prison sentence. Hernandez is not scheduled to testify against Baily.