Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 11 years, 11 months, 4 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: Bureau of Investigative Services - Youth Division: Unit 074 - Area 4 Youth
District of Incident (Present Day): 012 - Near West
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 40
Date of Birth: 17 Feb 1948
Date of Appointment: 18 Oct 1976
Date of Incident: 012 - Near West
End of Watch: 22 Sep 1988
Date of Interment: 27 Sep 1988
Cemetery: St. Mary Catholic Cemetery - Evergreen Park, Illinois
Grave Location: Grave 3, Lot 9, Block 44, Section W
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # D-7
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 1
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 3, Line 43
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 36-E: 10
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: Did Not Serve
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman Irma C. Ruiz, Star #16823, aged 27 years, was an 11 year, 11 month, 4 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department. Ruiz graduated from the police academy on October 18, 1976 and was assigned to the Bureau of Investigative Services – Youth Division: Unit 074 – Area 4 Youth.
On September 22, 1988, at 10:15 a.m., Officer Ruiz and her partner, Patrolman Greg Jaglowski, were at Moses Montefiore School, 1300 South Ashland Avenue to pick up a student who had become a disciplinary problem when they were confronted by a mentally deranged gunman. The man had just shot four people, three fatally outside and at an auto parts store located across the street from the school. Officer Ruiz was shot and killed in the incident. Officer Jaglowski, despite being shot and seriously injured, managed to kill the assailant. Officers Ruiz and Jaglowski were credited with saving the lives of hundreds of young school children that day.
The incident began at 10:00 a.m. when Clemmie Henderson, age 40, A heavily armed gunman went into The Comet Auto Parts store at 1334 South Ashland Avenue and opened fire killing Robert Quinn, age 26, an employee and John Van Dyke, age 41, owner of the store. Henderson then left the store and walked to the Southeast corner of the Moses Montefiore School where he shot and killed Arthur Baker, age 34, a custodial worker at the school and wounded Laplose Chestnut, age 35, a city garbage collector. Henderson then entered the school through the front door located on Ashland Avenue where he observed Officers Ruiz and Jaglowski standing in front of the Guidance Counselors office a few yards into the school building. Henderson opened fire and Officer Ruiz was struck by a bullet that penetrated her heart and Officer Jaglowski was shot in the left thigh. Officer Jaglowski exited the school and went to his squad car to radio for help as Henderson went into an unoccupied room in the school to reload. Henderson then exited the school and was confronted by Officer Jaglowski on the sidewalk where both opened fire. Officer Jaglowski was shot again in the lower left leg and collapsed to the ground. As Office Jaglowski fell, he returned fire and struck Henderson in the upper abdomen and in the back. Henderson stumbled back into the school and collapsed a few feet from Officer Ruiz’s body. Officer Ruiz was transported to Cook County Hospital where she was pronounced dead on arrival. Henderson was also transported to Cook County Hospital where he died a few minutes after arriving. Officer Jaglowski was transported to Mount Sinai Hospital where he was treated, released and eventually recovered from his wounds.
It is unknown what set Henderson off that day, but at 9:30 p.m. Henderson had gone to the Chicago Lumber and Construction Company at 1238 South Ashland Avenue looking for a job as an armed security guard. He was told that the owners weren’t there, so Henderson went to a car wash in the same building and sat on a makeshift sofa with his eyes closed for 15 minutes and then left. It was then that he got up without saying a word and went to the auto parts store and began the shooting rampage. Henderson had a history of mental illness and in January, 1973 was taken to Chicago Reed Mental Health Facility by Cook County Jail Officials for evaluation. Henderson had served in the U.S. Army during Vietnam and was taking medication for depression.
Officer Ruiz was waked at Blake-Lamb Lain Fern Funeral Home located at 1015 North Dearborn Street, her funeral mass was held at Christ the King Catholic Church located at 9235 South Hamilton Avenue and she was laid to rest on September 27, 1988 in St. Mary Catholic Cemetery, 87th Street and Hamlin Avenue, Evergreen Park, Illinois. Her grave is located in Grave 3, Lot 9, Block 44, Section W.
Patrolman Irma C. Ruiz (nee Yañez), born February 17, 1948, received her Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on October 18, 1976. She graduated from the police academy on October 18, 1976 and earned 1 Department Commendation, 3 Honorable Mentions and 4 Complimentary Letters during her career.
Officer Ruiz was a member of the Fraternal Order of Police, Latin American Police Association and the St. Jude Police League. She was survived by her husband, Peter Richard, Sr., age 46; children: Irma Linda, age 16, John Luis, age 10, Peter Richard, Jr., age 17 and Phillip Ryan, age 8; mother, Lupita Yanez (nee Casanova) and siblings: Bonnie Castellano, Elaine Bustamente, Louis Bustamente, Rebecca Frederick, Rita Salinas and Willie Yanez. She was preceded in death by her father, Willie Yanez.
Incident Recorded Under Chicago Police Department RD #K416110.
In December 1988, Officer Ruiz’s star was retired by Superintendent LeRoy Martin and enshrined in the Superintendent’s Honored Star Case, located in the lobby at Chicago Police Headquarters, 1121 South State Street. In 2000, Chicago Police Headquarters moved to a new facility at 3510 South Michigan Avenue, Officer Ruiz’s Star was re-encased in the new headquarters building lobby.
On January 12, 1990, in memory of her heroic efforts the brand new Irma C. Ruiz Elementary School located at 2410 South Leavitt Street was dedicated and named in her honor.
On October 19, 2018, in memory of her heroic efforts Walnut Park located at 3801 West 45th Street was renamed in her honor.