One last Facebook status update capped a bizarre night of terror in central Michigan during which police say a prison parolee abducted a college student at gunpoint, raped her, set fire to a house, stole a flatbed truck and rammed three police cars.
"Well folkes im about to get shot. Peace."
That was the message Eric Ramsey posted from his cell phone to his Facebook page apparently just moments before he was fatally shot by a sheriff's deputy, ending a crime rampage that started in Mt. Pleasant and stretched 85 miles north to the Grayling area.
"I've been in this community for 35 years," said Central Michigan University Police Chief Bill Yeagley. "I don't remember anything like this."
Police said it started around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday as the student, a senior from the Grand Rapids area, walked to her Ford Escape, which was parked in a lot just outside of the Student Activities Center in the middle of CMU's Mt. Pleasant campus.
As she got near her car, the woman was approached by Ramsey, who brandished a gun and forced her into her SUV, police said. Ramsey told the victim he randomly picked her, according to police.
He directed her to drive to a house just off campus, on South Crawford Street, where she was bound and raped. Police said the house was owned by Ramsey's mother, with whom he had been living.
Ramsey -- who was paroled last summer after serving a five-year prison stint for felonious assault -- then got the victim back in the SUV, along with two cans of gasoline. As they drove down the road, he told her he was going to kill her, the woman told police.
She jumped out and ran to a house on South Mission Road in Shepherd.
James Persyn III, 14, told the Free Press that he, his sister, Acelin, 11, and his 2-year-old brother, Angus, were home Wednesday night when they heard banging at the front door and a woman's cries for help.
"She was saying, 'Help me! Please let me in. Help! Help!' " James said. "I let her in, and she asked me if my parents were home. I told her no. She said, 'We've got to hide. I was just kidnapped, and I've just jumped out of a vehicle. We've got to hide now.' "
James said he grabbed his hunting knife from his bedroom and told his siblings and the woman to go in the bathroom. He stood by the bathroom door, while the others went into the bathtub.
They heard a man believed to be the woman's attacker pounding at the front door, demanding to be let in.
"You were just afraid for your life. You didn't know if you were going to live or not," James said.
The woman called 911 and then James called his father, who had left to pick up his fiancee from a nearby store and pizza shop where she works.
The woman told James she had a broken arm from jumping out of the vehicle. Meanwhile, police said, Ramsey poured gasoline around the house and lit it on fire. He then took off.
The father, James Persyn Jr., rushed to the house. When he arrived, the man who had been banging on the door was gone and the front of the house was on fire. Persyn smothered and stomped out the flames, and called for his children. Police arrived at about the same time.
Meanwhile, Ramsey, 30, was headed north.
About 2:50 a.m., Michigan State Police investigated a suspicious vehicle in a parking lot in Gaylord. The vehicle -- the victim's SUV -- rammed the troopers' car three times, "rendering it inoperable," the State Police said in a release.
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