Hero Charles Ramsey: “You Do What You Have to Do”

Charles Ramsey

Amanda Berry

Georgina “Gina” DeJesus

By Josh Levs, Phil Gast and Steve Almasy, CNN Within hours of becoming a national hero, a viral video star and the top topic on Twitter, Charles Ramsey talked about having trouble getting sleep. It wasn’t because of all the excitement that followed his knocking down a Cleveland neighbor’s door, freeing three women and a girl who police say were held hostage for years. Instead, Ramsey told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Tuesday, it was about knowing he had lived for a year near the captive women on the city’s West Side. “Up until yesterday the only thing that kept me from losing sleep was the lack of money,” the restaurant dishwasher said on “Anderson Cooper 360.” Ramsey recounted Monday night’s drama, when he heard a girl scream “like a car had hit a kid.” He ran from his living room, clutching a half-eaten McDonald’s Big Mac, to the house and helped free a woman identified as Amanda Berry. “Amanda said, ‘I’ve been trapped in here. He won’t let me out. It’s me and my baby.” Ramsey and a man named Angel Cordero broke down the door, CNN affiliate WEWS reported in an earlier interview heard around the world. Ramsey told CNN he had never seen Berry before Monday, and at first, he could not place the name. “Berry didn’t register with me until I was on the phone, like wait a minute, I thought this girl was dead.” “She’s like, ‘This (expletive) kidnapped me and my daughter,’” he told the 911 operator, according to WEWS. After police arrived, Berry explained there were other women inside. When police came out with them, Ramsey told the station, “it was astonishing.” Berry was last seen after finishing her shift at a Burger King in Cleveland in 2003 on the eve of her 17th birthday. The other two women were Georgina “Gina” DeJesus, who disappeared at age 14 in 2004, and Michelle Knight, who vanished in August 2002 at age 21, according to police. Explaining that he had no idea Ariel Castro, his neighbor, may have had other people inside his home, Ramsey said, “I’ve been here a year. You see where I’m coming from? I barbecue with this dude. We eat ribs and whatnot and listen to salsa music…There’s nothing exciting about him. Well, until today.” Ramsey told CNN he is no hero and should not receive any reward. “You’ve got to put that being a coward away for a minute,” he said.
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