One of Bernhard Goetz’s Victims Kills Self on Anniversary of Subway Shoot

Josh Saul, New York Post, December 23, 2011

Exactly 27 years to the day after Bernhard Goetz–famous in New York lore as the “Subway Vigilante”–shot four young men he thought were threatening him on a train, one of them killed himself by swallowing prescription pills in a low-rent Bronx motel, authorities said.

James Ramseur, 45, was found dead of an apparent overdose at 11:30 a.m. yesterday at the Paradise Hotel at 2990 Boston Road, law-enforcement sources said last night.


No suicide note was found and there were no wounds on the body.


Ramseur had gotten out of prison only 17 months ago, after serving 25 years upstate for raping a young woman on a Bronx rooftop.

The shooting took place on Dec. 22, 1984, when Ramseur, 18, and neighborhood pals Darrell Cabey, Barry Allen and Troy Canty, all 19, were riding a downtown No. 2 train.

As it approached Chambers Street, they encountered Goetz, an electronics specialist. What ensued is in dispute.

Goetz told authorities the intimidating youths demanded $5 from him. The teens insisted they were only panhandling.

Goetz fired five shots from his Smith & Wesson, hitting all of them.


Many residents of the city, which was then undergoing an unprecedented era of street crime, hailed him as a hero.

But since the four youths were black, others called him a racist.

He was convicted of illegally possessing a loaded firearm, but cleared of the more serious charges–four counts of attempted murder.



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  • Anonymous

    Months before Goetz lawfully used reasonable force to defend himself, there were multiple reports in media of maiming in the NY subway. The jury must have known “panhandling” through mob intimidation was highly unlikely.

  • Paul

    Well considering that one of the black youths later spent 25 years in prison for rape, and Goetz was acquited of attempted murder, I would say that what happened before the shooting is not “in dispute”. Sure they were panhandling, but doing so aggressively.

    Even 28 years later, liberals still refuse to admit black criminal behavior.

  • dtih

    In the long run, in this case 27 years, the truth will come out as to who was the good guy and who was the bad guy. This was a bad guy. Evil does exist.

  • Bandmo

    I can only wonder if Bernhard Goetz will again be charged with another crime over this.

  • Cliff Yablonski

    Of the 4 people Goetz shot that day, 3 almost immediately went on to commit other violent crimes and spend time in prison, the 4th ended up a paraplegic and was not able to do any further damage to society, courtesy of Mr. Goetz’s marksmanship.

  • Anonymous

    “Many residents…hailed him as a hero. But since the four youths were black, others called him a racist.” Perhaps the greatest Orwellian trick of all time was turning everything that common sense dictated was heroic and just and making it “racist”. Doubly astounding when you consider it is virtually always the non-whites who are truly racist in any substantial way. A meaningless and idiotic word has been turned into a nebulous bludgeon that has utterly cowed the white majority. The charge is so damning and terrifying directly in proportion to the enormity and obviousness of the truth it covers up.

    -I hear Dartavious mugged old lady Thompson, raped her, doused her in gasoline, and set her ablaze.

    -Well, at least he wasn’t a racist cracker like that old crone.

  • Anonymous

    Hmmm… 25 years at $60,000 per year equals $1.5 million in taxpayer funds to warehouse this creep. Plus the public defender and court fees probably put his bill at over $2 million.

  • Dutchman

    I highly doubt Ramseur is a suicide. Blacks rarely commit suicide since their unjustifiably high levels of self-esteem mitigate against offing oneself. My theory is that he overdosed by accident since he is likely unable to follow simple directions on his meds. The date of his death is a mere coincidence. Surely he would not have felt remorse over his life of crime.

  • Anonymous

    The linkage to Goetz is lame. James Ramseur was a loser and a criminal. He peaked when he was shoot by Goetz. It is the only reason the New York Post wrote about his death, otherwise his suicide would have gone unnoticed.

    Make no mistake, vigilantism is seldom tolerated. But these guys were not model citizens.

  • Anonymous

    Doing the math, I see that this “victim” was convicted of rape within a year the Goetz incident. Who knows what other crimes he had committed by then.

  • Anonymous

    There IS a God!

    Bernie should have taken them all out on that subway car. How many women were raped later?

  • sbuffalonative

    “…shot four young men he thought were threatening him on a train”

    “The teens insisted they were only panhandling.”

    Mr. Goetz ‘thought’ they were threatening him while they claim they were only panhandling.

    From what I remember, they were panhandling with sharpened screwdrivers.

  • Colonel Taylor

    If there were any justice in the world Bernie would have a monument on the Washington Mall.

  • olewhitelady

    Who knows whether this guy was trying to kill himself or whether he was just trying to get high or numb his brain? Blacks don’t commonly commit suicide.

  • Anonymous

    I think he should be interred at the Capitol Rotunda, right next to Rosa Parks. Bono is going to write the eulogy. Merry Kwanza.

  • WHC

    Bernhard Goetz, will always be viewed as a hero in my book. He was the epitome of a mild mannered citizen, who under normal circumstances, would never dream of harming anyone. But the day came when he finally had endured enough. The fact that one of his feral attackers died of an overdose, means the community has one less predator to worry about. At last count there are now 39 states that offer some form of a legal permit to carry a concealed handgun. I suspect that what happened to Bernhad Goetz after the shooting (his incarceration and media demonization) was the beginning of a dramatic change in how reasonable people view self-defense. I live in a state where citizens are now allowed to defend themselves when attacked and I thank Bernhard Goetz for his sacrifices and for his contribution to freedom.

  • Peejay in Frisco

    Ill bet that a lot of blacks will blame his raping of the woman on the fact that he was shot by Bernhard Goetz.Blame Slinging has no limits.

  • Mr.White

    God bless Bernhard Goetz. I hope he’s getting along ok….

  • Ian J. MacDonald

    Goetz packed a Smith & Wesson .38 revolver. I also own one as it is quite concealable and easy to use, so I am familiar with this weapon. It holds five rounds. If he had carried a semi-auto with 11 rounds (ten-round mag plus one in the chamber), he could have plugged nearly each “urban youth” with three rounds a piece, thus increasing the chance of taking down Ramseur for good, and thereby saving Ramseur’s future victim from rape.

  • Anonymous

    Democrat Mayor Koch denounced the “vigilante.” All efforts were made to smear Goetz. Meanwhile, for the first quarter following the shooting of the muggers, crime in the subway decreased – I think by about 75%, but my memory may not recall the exact amount. For about 3 months, muggers were probably afraid they might pick the wrong person.

    Goetz was a hero. His action saved many others from being mugged. He save whites by shooting Black racist thieves.

    Therefore, the Democrats and the liberals hated him and forced him into jail. The Democrats hate those who defend themselves, and swoon over the minorities who demand their “fair share” by stealing, punching, and killing those who work.

  • Anonymous

    Why is the dead thug referred to as a “victim”? The fact that he carried on with his criminal career till caught and convicted of rape proves that he was guilty of exactly what Mr. Goetz said he was, and that even after being shot for his crime, he was too dumb to learn to mend his ways.

    I always did think Bernie Goetz was a stand up guy who finally did what a lot of folks just don’t have the balls to put into action. Kudos to him, then and now. Hope he is having a nice, quiet, happy life.

  • Old Soldier

    For those too young to remember, NYPD launched a massive effort into tracking down Bernard Goetz for his “crimes.” Meanwhile, they just couldn’t do enough for his “victims,” all of whom had length felony criminal records at age 18 or 19. And the liberal press always likes to forget they they were threatening Goetz with sharpened screwdrivers as part of their “pahandling.”

    Looks like he did succeed in rehabilitating one of them, as only the 3 that could still walk went about their normal criminal careers afterwards:

    (from Wikipedia)

    In March 1985, soon after being released from the hospital for the treatment of his gunshot wound, James Ramseur falsely reported to police that two men hired by Goetz had kidnapped and attempted to kill him,[63] but was not charged in this hoax. In May 1985, Ramseur held the gun while an associate raped, sodomized and robbed a pregnant eighteen-year-old woman on the rooftop of the Bronx building where he lived, and in 1986 was sentenced to 8⅓ to 25 years in prison. According to the New York State Department of Corrections[64] inmate search site, Ramseur served his sentence and was released in July, 2010. Ramseur was found dead of a drug overdose, in an apparent suicide, in a Bronx, New York motel room on 22 December 2011, the 27th anniversary of the incident on the number 2 train.[65][66]

    Barry Allen committed two robberies after the shooting, one of them a 1986 chain snatching in the elevator of the building where he lived.[52] The second arrest in May, 1991 brought him a sentence of three and a half to seven years for probation violation and third degree robbery. He was released on parole in December, 1995.[67][64][68]

    After a number of minor arrests for petty offenses, Canty was ordered to undergo an 18-month drug treatment program at a rehabilitation center, which he completed in 1989.[69][68] He was later charged with assault, robbery, and resisting arrest in an altercation with his common-law wife in August, 1996, but was not convicted and did not serve time.[7

  • NYTB

    But since the four youths were black, others called him a racist.

    Well, there you have it. If a white man shoots blacks, what could that possibly suggest but racial animus, right?

  • Al Swearengen

    Well, there you have it. If a white man shoots blacks, what could that possibly suggest but racial animus, right?

    He should have found four white bystanders to shoot, just to make things fair.

  • Jeddermann.

    “What ensued is in dispute.”

    NOTHING is in dispute. What happened has been determined with certainty. They solicited $5 from Goetz in a threatening manner and he reacted. They were shot. What more does anyone need to know?

  • Anonymous

    So many thoughts….

    Goetz was brutally beaten by three muggers not long before this. He suffered permanent injuries. He was also undoubtedly traumatized by this experience. No mention of this in the article.

    They were carrying sharpened 13″ long screwdrivers. No mention of this in the article.

    One of the black “victims” took the fifth. If innocent, why?

    I doubt he committed suicide. It just isn’t like blacks to do that. Suicide is an act of despair, usually caused by, or attributed with, low self-esteem. Blacks, albiet usually without justification, have high self-esteem. Plus there was no note. It was probably unintentional.

    Note how all the black “victims”, but one, who was incapacitated, went on to commit numerous crimes. Goetz never did. Had they just left him alone, he probably never would have had any trouble with the law in his life.

    Who knows how many people were saved from being mugged because of him? Probably a lot. First he took out four muggers and scared a lot more.

    Finally I would ask many people to remember that Goetz’s actions helped a lot to make gun-carry laws possible. He paid a huge price personally for others to have this right.

  • Mike H.

    “Ramseur had gotten out of prison only 17 months ago, after serving 25 years upstate for raping a young woman on a Bronx rooftop.”


    Well, which is it?

  • Anonymous

    “One of Bernhard Goetz’s Victims Kills Self on Anniversary of Subway Shoot”

    The Headline should read:

    “Convicted Rapist Who Attacked Bernhard Goetz Kills Self on Anniversary of Subway Shoot”


    This guy was the Trayvon Martin of the 1980’s, lets all be thankful that Obama’s son is no longer gonna be able to rape anyone on some roof top in the future. And we’re not gonna have to be paying for neither his future up keep in convict row, nor his many “chilenz” that would surly be destined to be abandoned like 70% of all black children are by all black, so called men. To both James Ramseur and Trayvon Martin I say, GOOD RIDDANCE, and long live Bernie Goetz and George Zimmerman. <- In a sane world you would have both been treated in the appropriate manner and given a pat on the back for a job well done! )

  • benvad

    I just wished Goetz would’ve killed all four of them.