AVONDALE, Ariz. — A celebration of life service was held Tuesday as friends, family, and fellow officers said goodbye to fallen Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Deputy Juan "Johnny" Ruiz after he was attacked while on duty.
The service was held at Saint Thomas Aquinas Church in Avondale, followed by a procession to Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery.
Frank Ruiz, Johnny's brother was beside himself remembering his sibling, the man his friends referred to as "Rocket."
"Johnny was so happy at his graduation and we were so proud to see him achieve his dream. Johnny was a man of faith, honor, and value. He never took himself too seriously, everyone who knew him, knew he would always help and you could depend on him," Frank said.
His longtime partner Dave Bowen laughed as he told a crowd of Ruiz's friends and family that Ruiz would often pass the buck on writing police reports but always offered to take the photos. Fellow officers and family vowed to remember everything Ruiz stood for.
"Johnny, I miss you buddy. In between calls we would chat about football, I won't hold it against him that he is a Raiders fan," Bowen said. "We would chat about family and it quickly showed that he loved them so much."
Ruiz died from injuries he sustained on Oct. 9 as the deputy was attempting to detain 30-year-old Clinton Hurley at the MCSO substation in Avondale. Hurley fled the scene and was later shot by a resident in Tonopah.
On Tuesday, Ruiz was described as a brother, a son, a fun uncle, and ultimately an officer who devoted his life to serving his community.
"He lost his life so that others may live, his family made the selfless act of donating his organs so that others may have the chance to live on," said Sheriff Paul Penzone. "Deputy Ruiz will forever be a link in this unbreakable bond."
While Ruiz's loved ones joked about his questionable taste in beer, black and tans to be specific, and his unconditional love for the Raiders football team, they sincerely shared their unstoppable emotion for a hero who will live in their hearts and on their sleeves forever.
"Johnny, we'll take it from here," Bowen added.
Up to Speed
Catch up on the latest news and stories on the 12 News YouTube channel. Subscribe today.