Ronald Michael Ryan Jr.
Appointed January 23, 1993
At about 0700 hours (7:00 a.m.) on Friday, August 26, 1994, Police Officer Ronald Michael Ryan Jr.1, Badge No. 496, was shot and killed after approaching a car with a man sleeping in it within the parking lot of Sacred Heart Church at E. Sixth and Hope Streets in the City of Saint Paul.
Five minutes earlier, police received a call of a man slumped in a car at the church parking lot. One squad was dispatched to that location but was then sent to another call. Officer Ryan was then sent. He parked in front of the red car and approached. At 0700 hours he radioed that he found a man sleeping in the car. After obtaining the subject’s passport, Officer Ryan was shot five times by the assailant. As Officer Ryan lay on the ground gravely wounded, the party exited his vehicle, went up to Officer Ryan, rolled him over and took his service weapon from Ryan’s holster. According to a witness, the red late model Plymouth Sundance with Iowa plates had been parked in the lot since late Thursday. The witness saw Officer Ryan pull up to the red car, stand near the driver’s door and shine his flashlight in the vehicle. As Ryan was walking back to his squad the witness reported hearing shots. The assailant, Guy Harvey Baker, 26, who was wanted in Mason City, Iowa, on a parole violation warrant for illegal possession of firearms, then returned to his car and left the lot… as one witness, who described these events, then shot at and struck the Plymouth twice with a 9mm pistol from his second floor apartment across the street, hoping to “tag” the car for later identification.
Officer Ryan was shot five times, once in the head, once in the back, once in an arm and at least twice in the chest, even though he was wearing a protective vest. He stopped breathing as responding squads arrived and “CPR” was started. At 0716 hours (7:16 a.m.) he was rushed to Saint Paul-Ramsey Medical Center (now Regions Hospital) where he succumbed to his wounds at 0825 hours (8:25 a.m.) in surgery. His midnight shift was to have ended at 0800 hours (8:00 a.m.).
The suspect’s vehicle was located in a parking lot west of Johnson Brothers Liquor Store at 1165 Old Hudson Road at 0755 hours (7:55 a.m.). Two boys saw the suspect run north into the woods. Officers surrounded the area and the manhunt started.
Later that same day, while Ryan’s parents were being flown to his bedside by a State Patrol fixed wing aircraft, the suspect shot and killed Saint Paul Police Officer Timothy James Jones2, Badge No. 498, and his canine partner, Laser, as they participated in the search. The suspect was captured soon thereafter, pled guilty to murdering both Officer Ryan and Officer Jones, and was sentenced to life without parole.
Born on June 26, 1967, and raised in Saint Paul, twenty-six year old Ronald Michael Ryan Jr. had been with the Police Department since January 23, 1993 (nineteen months), most of that time working in the Eastern District. He was survived by his wife, Ann. His father, Ronald Ryan Sr.3, a Police Lieutenant at the time, later ran a statewide gang taskforce. Only five months earlier Ronald Jr. was awarded the Medal of Merit for rescuing three children from a house fire. Officer Ryan’s funeral was held on Tuesday, August 30, 1994, at Presentation Catholic Church, and he is buried at Union Cemetery, Maplewood, Minnesota.
1 Ronald Michael Ryan, Jr. was appointed Police Officer January 23, 1993; and was fatally injured by gunfire while responding to a “slumper” call Friday, August 26, 1994.
2 Timothy James Jones was appointed Police Officer October 31, 1978; and was fatally injured by gunfire while searching for a murder suspect Friday, August 26, 1994.
3 Ronald Michael Ryan, Sr. was appointed Patrolman June 26, 1968; was promoted to Sergeant May 8, 1972; was promoted to Lieutenant March 30, 1990; received a title change to Commander January 1, 2000; and retired April 29, 2005. He was then hired by the Ramsey County Sheriff June 1, 2005, in positions of Lieutenant and Commander of Special Projects; and retired October 11, 2008.