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Hollywood screenwriter Ed Solomon on Thursday shared a creepy mix-up story about the time he was momentarily suspected of being the Night Stalker, who in the mid-’80s terrified California.
The Night Stalker case is back in headlines due to the popularity of a new four-part Netflix docuseries about the serial killer, who was later identified as Richard Ramirez. He was finally captured and put on death row. He died of cancer in 2013.
Solomon, screenwriter of such films as the Bill & Ted series and Men in Black, recalled one night in the summer of 1985 when reporters began to call and police came knocking on his door.
“In August 1985 I was awakened by a call saying, ‘Are you the Night Stalker?’ I hung up, thinking it was a weird prank. But it kept happening. That’s when I learned — from a reporter on the other end — that I was a prime suspect in that grisly Richard Ramirez murder spree,” Solomon said via Twitter. “The reporter explained that my car was found at the crime scene, which made no sense because I looked out my window [and] saw it was still in the parking space of my Westwood apartment. I had to hang up because the police were walking up my driveway — but weirdly slowly.”
Solomon said the police officers told him they were following up on a lead, but they quickly knew he was not their man.
“They wouldn’t tell me anything about why they suspected me — which I have to say was exceedingly surreal (and I remember I had just read [Franz] Kafka’s ‘The Trial,’ which made it even surreal..er?). But in the morning I saw the news — and I figured out what happened,” Solomon said. “[Three] years earlier my (then) roommate ([and] best friend) was buying a used car, [and] since he was in med school [and] I had an actual job (my Laverne & Shirley gig), he had me sign (or maybe co-sign?) for his loan. As such, the car was registered to my address, even though he’d just sold it.”
Solomon continued, “The guy who’d bought it was eating dinner in a Chinese restaurant downtown, where the car (a crappy red Toyota station wagon) was stolen — by Ramirez — and driven to the murder site, where it was abandoned.”
In the Netflix docuseries, the Toyota station wagon was explained to be a vital piece of evidence as Ramirez had left a print on the rearview mirror, a major break in the case.
Solomon explained that his roommates had actually been in jail that night for growing a marijuana plant that the neighbor saw and reported.
“The only reason I wasn’t in jail with them was that I hadn’t been around when they were arrested,” he wrote. “I remember my roommates coming back later that day [and] saying something like: ‘Oh my god have we got a story for you.’ And I remember replying with something like, ‘Okay, me, too.. but you go first.’ “
In August 1985 I was awakened by a call saying "Are you the Night Stalker?" I hung up, thinking it was a weird prank. But it kept happening. That's when I learned – from a reporter on the other end – that I was a prime suspect in that grisly RIchard Ramirez murder spree.
— Ed Solomon (@ed_solomon) January 21, 2021
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Top Gun: Maverick