2 men arrested in shooting of Hialeah dentist

HIALEAH, FLA. (WSVN) - Police have arrested two men accused of shooting a dentist outside her Hialeah office.

Hialeah Police arrested Ralph Benjamin and Hector Ledesma at Miami International Airport on Thursday after, they said, the duo tried to leave the country via one-way tickets to the Virgin Islands.

The dentist, identified as Dr. Carmen Ramirez, was walking into work on East Eighth Avenue and 41st Street Tuesday morning when she was shot six times.

According to police, Ramirez is the star witness in an identity fraud case out of Orlando, where a man is accused of stealing $40,000 from her business and faces three to five years in prison.

Police said Ledesma, who is the brother of the man facing fraud charges, came to the dentist’s office to kill her.

“This is a targeted shooting,” Hialeah Police Maj. Hubert Ruiz said. “Our victim has been victimized by the same group of people in increasing fashion over the past couple of years. Everything we’ve learned about this case indicates that it was an assassination attempt.”

According to investigators, Benjamin pulled the trigger, and Ledesma drove the getaway vehicle.

“Benjamin was flown into Florida for the sole purpose of hunting down and killing our victim, and we also believe Ledesma’s relationship to his brother, who faces jail time, leads us to our motive,” Ruiz said. “They have been identified via CCTV footage, independent witness accounts and photo lineups.”

Police said a surveillance video captured the duo stalking the dentist days before she was gunned down.

Ramirez was airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center in critical condition, where she remains in a medically-induced coma.

Aerial footage showed investigators taking photographs and collecting clues at the scene.

“Just hours away — or really a plane ride away — from this becoming a cold case,” Ruiz said.

Ledesma and Benjamin appeared in bond court on Friday, where they were denied bond and ordered to stay away from the victim.

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