Chicago Honors Fallen Police Officer, Names City Park In Her Honor

Bernie Tafoya
October 19, 2018 - 1:58 pm

WBBM Newsradio/Bernie Tafoya

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- A Chicago police officer killed in the line of duty 30 years ago was remembered Friday with a city park being named in her honor.  

Officer Irma Ruiz, 40, was shot and killed in Montefiore School on the Near West Side in late September 1988. A gunman had killed two auto parts store clerks, wounded a city garbage collector, and then shot to death a school custodian before killing the officer. 

Irma Ruiz Collins was in high school the day her mother died and told those gathered at the park at 3801 W. 45th St. in the Archer Heights community: "We hope the memory of, ‘Hey, I played at the Irma C. Ruiz Park’ will live on one day through kids and generations to come."

Collins also honored the other three people killed that day by the gunman, school custodian Arthur Baker and auto parts store workers John Van Dyke and Robert Quinn, as well as Officer Ruiz's partner, Greg Jaglowski, who was badly wounded.

Jaglowski remembers that day well, including the morning when, he said, Officer Ruiz was a couple of minutes late for work.

"The thing she had to do, she had to call her two kids…they were five and seven. She had to call and check on them every morning and that’s just the way she was. She was just so thoughtful," Jaglowski said.

Jaglowski was badly wounded by the gunman but, during a hallway shootout, was able to kill the gunman. He said he’s sure Officer Ruiz would have been proud that no students were injured. 

WBBM Newsradio/Bernie Tafoya

Mary Lou Ruiz is Officer Irma Ruiz’s sister-in-law and said the family is honored the late officer is being remembered again. Officer Ruiz has a Chicago Public School named for her at 24th and Leavitt and one of the Chicago Police horses is named for her, as well. 

"I remember her being so loving, especially with her children. We could be sitting talking and she’d say, 'look over there, Mary Lou….Phillip get over here. Let me give you a hug.’ That’s just the way she was," Ruiz said.

Police Supt. Eddie Johnson had been fresh out of the academy at the time.  He sait it, "happened a couple of weeks after I hit the street and that was a sobering reminder for us of how dangerous this job can actually be."

Supt. Johnson said Officer Ruiz will never be forgotten.

Alderman Ed Burke, 14th Ward, spoke at the park-naming ceremony and pointed out that among those responding to the call of a "10-1," officer needs assistance, were then-officer Matt Rodriguez who would go on to become Chicago Police Superintendent and Leo Schmitz, who is currently director of the Illinois State Police Department.  Burke said it was Rodriguez who applied pressure to Officer Jaglowski's femoral artery to keep the wounded officer from bleeding to death.