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May 7th, 2013
07:10 PM ET

Exclusive on AC360: Cleveland hero

Anderson Cooper met a neighbor turned hero for an exclusive interview. By now, you’ve likely seen the video of a stunned but animated Charles Ramsey as he talked to a local TV station. He's the man who unknowingly ended a nightmare for three women and a child who are believed to have been held captive in a Cleveland house for years. Tonight on 360, he shares new details about how he saved them.

As Ramsey tells it, he was eating dinner when he heard screaming. He initially thought it was a domestic violence dispute. In the video that's gone viral, he told CNN affiliate WEWS that when he got on the porch, a girl begged for help. "I open the door. And we can't get in that way 'cause of how the door is, it's so much that a body can't fit through; only your hand."

Another man named Angel Cordero helped him break through the door to rescue Amanda Berry and a little girl. Berry went missing in 2003 on the eve of her 17th birthday. Ramsey thought she was dead.

Michelle Knight was 21 when she vanished in 2002 and Gina DeJesus was last seen in 2004 at age 14. All three women are safe now thanks to Ramsey's actions.

Ramsey had spent time with bus driver Ariel Castro and never suspected what was going on behind closed doors in the house."He just comes out to his backyard, plays with the dogs, tinkers with his cars and motorcycles, goes back in the house. So he's somebody you look, then look away. He's not doing anything but the average stuff. You see what I'm saying? There's nothing exciting about him. Well, until today," he said on Monday.

Asked if he considers himself a hero, Ramsey says no. He tells AC360, "I'm a Christian. I'm an American." If there's a reward for finding the missing girls, the modest dishwasher wants the money to go to the victims.

Hear much more from Ramsey in the interview. Anderson reports live from Cleveland with the latest on the three suspects and the accusations about what they did to the women at 8 and 10 p.m. ET.

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Filed under: 3 Missing Teens Found in Ohio • Crime
soundoff (48 Responses)
  1. M. Raymond Sheppard

    It does not cease to amaze, how many ignorant people there are in the world, A hero is a hero regardless of race, creed, color, education, orientation, age, income, geography, history, background, etc.

    Charles Ramsey is a hero. He acted for the betterment of another without reservation for his own safety. For what he did and how he has handled himself in the spotlight. Most of us are proud of this individual, we are proud of this HERO.

    May 12, 2013 at 7:46 pm |
  2. Carol

    The man is not claiming all the credit. He said this other guy helped him. He was busy helping the girl, not thinking about who he should share the credit with. This other guy is just sorry the press are not making a big deal out of him. I think he is a hero because some other people would walk away rather than get involved.

    May 12, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
  3. Jay

    Courage doesn't require education, just a wiliness to do what is right at the right time. It comes from the heart.
    Look at history (the bible, etc.) the people who made the greatest strides weren't ones who were rich, popular, or scholars, but ones who had the gumption to do what was right, despite all possible outcomes.
    May God bless you Mr. Ramsey, Mr. Cordero and Anderson Cooper for spotlighting this story.

    May 10, 2013 at 1:51 am |
    • josette

      I agree with Jay, courage has no color, no race but gumption and inborn desire to do the right thing at all costs...Courage is a very rare quality particularly when whomever did the right thing is not accepting a reward....There is no cost for courage, it is only the desire to help someone in need. Anderson, Ramsey should epitomize the concept of helping someone in danger....and Amanda, her daughter and the other two women were in the worst danger, what if Castro had returned just then....

      May 10, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
  4. susann robertson

    Thanks you Mr Ramsey, this monster was 41 when Michelle knight went missing, & he just kept doing this only god knows how many victims there really r not every one can adapt to these sercumstansis, these women were servivors others might not have been so lucky, he put the fear in these women, god only knows what he did to them & in front of them, to put that kind of fear in them!!!

    May 10, 2013 at 12:27 am |
  5. Sabrina

    Mr. Ramsey,
    God was using you on that day! For those women you were and are their "Angel" and you have demonstrated to the world through your actions that there is still "good" in this world. May God bless you and the other gentleman that assisted you on that day. I also pray for those three women that God continues to protect, cover and strengthen than as they deal with the aftermath of what they have endured. 🙏

    May 9, 2013 at 11:16 pm |
  6. suz marie

    He said it all, "doin' the right thing." Simple as that. Give him some money even though he has declined it. The girls future will hopefully be taken care of in the form of support, free therapy etc and who should pay? Perhaps lawenforcement since they failed to thoroughly investigate the home when they were tipped off at the onset.

    May 9, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
  7. mia

    God bless this man. He hasn't gotten a call from the president yet, and the cleveland police needs to be investagated. I smell a law suit

    May 9, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
  8. Yissel

    I do not want to misinformed people, however, it is my understanding that this is not the person who actually helped the girls. Unfortunetly he is getting all the recognition for something somebody else did.......sad.

    May 9, 2013 at 4:46 am |
    • Michael S

      In every interview Charles Ramsey has done he's always said "we" (meaning Angel Cordero) when talking about breaking through the door of that house. The way you put it is like he didn't do anything at all. That's what is sad.

      May 10, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
  9. ann baker

    Watched ABC & CBS News tonight. No mention of Mr. Ramsey. They reported that the Cleveland Police rescued the young women and the police were the heros, blah, blah...

    May 9, 2013 at 12:07 am |
    • sheila

      they didn't want to mention him because he doesn't fit "their" criteria of what a hero should be. how pathetic that a news station would do this.

      May 10, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
  10. Geeraw

    Interview of the century!

    May 8, 2013 at 7:43 pm |
  11. Yesenia

    I love this man....does he have an address for donations better yet tell McDonalds to give him free food for all the advertisement hes giving them...??? Also is it not ironic that he was eating McDonalds and stopped to help the girl and the monster was arrested at McDonalds???

    May 8, 2013 at 6:57 pm |
  12. Mildred Curtis

    Thank God Mr. Ramsey answered the womans call for help. He did put himself in harms way. But thank God it worked out for their good. Bless every body concerned.

    May 8, 2013 at 6:35 pm |
  13. davdinthebox

    I'm with this dude, triple life it it was me and I had known.

    May 8, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
  14. patricia mason

    Mr Ramsey said he saw the abductor with 2 children in the backyard. Who and where is this other child?

    May 8, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
    • Michael S

      His oldest daughter has children. The other child could have been one of them.

      May 10, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
  15. zaria nixon

    its a blessing that they got away thinks to him I love that he doesnt want the money he will give it to them :)

    May 8, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
  16. Kimlyn

    Thank God that even though we live in a society where so many people turn a blind eye to others in need of help, or in trouble, this brave man did not turn a blind eye.
    May God bless him for his kindness and bravery to help another human in trouble in this troubling world we live in now.

    May 8, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
  17. Milan Ronaldo

    I Rep that 330 since Day One... Bless this man

    May 8, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
  18. ted lidster

    Thank God for men like Mr. Cooper

    May 8, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
  19. Jada

    An american. Speaking from the heart and what a big heart. he wants the money to go to the victims and not himself. He is humble and authentic. GOD Bless him and the victims. Another great one Anderson. Please ask him what he needs to make his life a little better and I would be glad to help. Him and the victims.

    May 8, 2013 at 11:47 am |
  20. debbie s

    the guys a dishwasher and wont take reward money he will be rewarded in more ways then one .what a real hero

    May 8, 2013 at 11:07 am |
  21. Jane Emerson

    CNN, please tell Mr Ramsey I suggest he put that famous paycheck to auction! He would be re-paid PLUS more for him and the victims.

    May 8, 2013 at 10:48 am |
  22. Nat

    I grew up close to Cleveland and Charles Ramsey is one incredible man. For what he did and how he has handled himself in the spotlight. All of Cleveland and the USA can be proud of this man. He is an amazing person.

    May 8, 2013 at 10:47 am |
  23. san

    I like this man, talks in so much details.

    May 8, 2013 at 9:22 am |
  24. TJ Just TJ

    I bet you a dollar that this interview will not be nearly as popular as the first interview.

    May 8, 2013 at 8:51 am |
  25. jennifer

    mr. ramsey! way to go.you are a real hero! mag g-d bless you always

    May 8, 2013 at 2:37 am |
  26. KDRAMA

    I meant to say was'nt needed in previous comment!!

    May 8, 2013 at 12:11 am |
  27. KDRAMA

    Even if this man may not be very highly educated ,it was his education that those three girls and baby needed at that time. THANKS MR RAMSEY FOR STEPPING UP TO THE PLATE AND HITTING A GRAND SLAM!!!!!!

    May 8, 2013 at 12:09 am |
  28. Dianne

    Anderson, another factor in this story is the weather. If it had been cooler, people would have been inside with their doors and windows closed with the heat on. Or if the weather had been warmer, they would have had the air conditioner on. But the weather was mild, and Charles Ramsey was sitting in his house with his doors and windows open and he was able to hear Amanda screaming for help.

    May 7, 2013 at 11:50 pm |
  29. Cynthia

    You ARE a hero Charles Ramsey! Thanks for helping those women to freedom, and not being afraid to get involved!

    May 7, 2013 at 11:30 pm |
  30. Leith

    This guy is great in so many ways! Way to go Mr. Ramsey! Love'd how he told it like it was.

    May 7, 2013 at 11:22 pm |
  31. Rob

    This wasn't filmed on location... Seymore Ave is by no means such a nice neighborhood as where this interview was filmed.This is a "whitewashing" of actual news- applause CNN.

    May 7, 2013 at 10:45 pm |
  32. Denise Walsh

    What a character but if I'm ever in trouble, I hope this character is nearby.

    May 7, 2013 at 10:33 pm |
  33. toni

    I I love at the end when he said this could have ended differently and winked. Mr. Ramsey you are an honorable man! You have done yourself proud!

    May 7, 2013 at 10:21 pm |
  34. Andrew Reynolds

    Anderson – I am a big fan but I really wish you and CNN (which I am a fan of also) would leave Cleveland and let these girls, their families and the authorities sort through this unspeakable story. For those that want to hear the horrible details (if the victims want to share them) they can read a book in the not to distant future. But the media camping out in the street in front of the homes of these families is in no way helpful, useful or ethical. You are better than this.

    May 7, 2013 at 10:19 pm |
  35. Gary Ballis

    The guy is a hero. He did what needed to done without worrying about consequences. When you consider the half-assed attempts of some of the neighbors to notify the cops of suspicious activities, and the cops' half-assed response–well, in the end, it took a take-charge-guy like Charles Ramsey to get the job done.

    Give him a hug for me.

    May 7, 2013 at 8:51 pm |
  36. Christie Chlopan

    He is a hero, and is so right that the 911 operator was completely stupid and without any empathy. Go Charles!

    May 7, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
  37. karen

    This brings tears to my eyes. He just helped without worrying about himself, or what others would say. He did it because he is a Christian and an American. Well he has a lot to be proud of. Most people turn a blind eye!

    May 7, 2013 at 8:43 pm |
  38. LORI RANDOLPH

    Anderson I am glad someone finally said something about how rude & horrible the 911 operator treated Amanda when she called in. It was like so what big deal & i need to hang up now. I THINK THIS WOMAN SHOULD BE FIRED. BECAUSE OF THE WAY SHE TREATED AMANDA SHE COULD HAVE LOST THOSE GIRLS AGAIN. OMG A 911 OPERATOR TREATING A MISSING PERSON THAT HAS BEEN GONE FOR 10 YEARS, TREATING HER LIKE THAT. I would like to see how other people felt. I SAY FIRE HER. SHE HAS NO COMPASSION.

    May 7, 2013 at 8:41 pm |
  39. Jesse

    The 911 operator appeared annoyed by the call or the caller, as though he didn't believe him. So grateful to Ramsey for taking action.

    May 7, 2013 at 8:40 pm |
  40. Michael Aikins

    Thank God for men like Mr. Ramsey

    May 7, 2013 at 8:25 pm |
    • Cherie

      I agree! He could have just turned a blind eye and a deaf ear, "minded his own business" like so many others. Amen he did not. What a man...who says they can keep the reward money if there is any. WoW. Pay the man too!

      May 8, 2013 at 3:07 am |
    • Kim

      Yes...and Mr. Ramsey, you are not stupid....his kind is just that good.....thanks for helping save those wonderful ladies!!!

      May 8, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
    • Clementine Lewis

      Wow! "If there's a reward for finding the missing girls, the modest dishwasher wants the money to go to the victims." God bless Mr. Ramsey and Mr. Cordero for getting involved.

      My prayer goes out to these young ladies and their families.

      May 8, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
  41. Dave

    presence of mind and character. great example to us all. great job bro!

    May 9, 2013 at 3:34 pm |