PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – Close friends and members of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office are honoring the life of fallen deputy Juan “Johnny” Ruiz after he was killed in the line of duty in Avondale.
MCSO says Deputy Ruiz was placing a wanted felon in a holding cell and after he took off the handcuffs, the suspect, Clinton Hurley, attacked the deputy. Deputy Ruiz died of his injuries, but not before one last heroic act, donating his organs.
“He’s still saving lives after he’s gone. I mean, if that’s not a hero, I don’t know what is,” said Deputy Alex Puckett.
The Donor Network of Arizona says one donor can save eight lives through their organs alone.
Deputy Puckett met Ruiz at the training academy and carried on their friendship through their career. “That’s somebody you’re just, you’re supposed to continue your career with. You never think it’s going to happen somebody you’re close to,” said Puckett.
Puckett said he and Ruiz went through the academy three years ago, both of them making a career change.
“He did insurance before. One thing he always told me was that this was his last shot at becoming a police officer, and it was a lifelong dream of his,” Puckett said. “You could tell he had a sense of pride and honor at what he did. He wanted to serve his community.”
He said even after graduation, they spent most of their work days together. “We studied together, we bled together, we’re brothers,” Puckett said. “It’s tough to refer to him in the past tense. I never thought I would have to do that.”
Deputy Ruiz leaves behind his mother, sister, four brothers, and other extended family.
Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone says Deputy Juan ‘Johnny’ Ruiz, who has been with MCSO for three years, never regained consciousness after being beaten by 30-year-old Clinton Robert Hurley.
“He took away one of my best friends. There’s going to be a hole in my heart for the rest of my life. I miss him dearly. And every day he hasn’t been here has been tough,” Puckett said. “We are truly in mourning of not only a fellow coworker but just a genuinely awesome amazing man who was taken too soon. I can promise you that when that man, when our suspect is on trial, you better believe I’m going to be there to ensure that justice is served.”
There will be a car wash Thursday morning at 7 am at the Cobblestone Auto Spa in Goodyear. All proceeds will go to Deputy Ruiz’s family.
Copyright 2021 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.