'They still remember': St. Paul officers killed in line of duty 25 years ago

It’s been 25 years since his son died in the line of duty, but for Ron Ryan Sr., the hole in his heart has never gone away.

“Sometimes it feels like it’s a 100 years ago and then today, it’s like it happened yesterday,” said Ryan.

It was 7 a.m. on Aug. 26, 1994 when rookie St. Paul Police Patrol Officer Ron Ryan Jr. was shot and killed. He was checking on a man who was sleeping in his car in a church parking lot in the Dayton's Bluff neighborhood.

Three hours later, Tim Jones, who came in on his day off to help search for Ryan's killer, was shot and killed too, along with his K-9 partner Laser, when they came across Guy Harvey Baker hiding in an ice fishing shack.

“This is always a somber day for anyone who wears this uniform and wears this badge,” said St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell. “Looking back at the history, I just can't believe it’s been 25 years since the most tragic, tragic day of my career.”

Chief Axtell says at the time, he had been with department for about five years. He had trained Officer Ryan in the field. He says he'll never forget how the east side was on lockdown as law enforcement conducted a massive manhunt for Baker until they found him trying to stay out of sight under a pile of lumber that afternoon.

"For many of us, it was the first time many of us felt true and deep fear searching for a killer when two of our friends had been killed and a K-9 officer and we were wondering who was going to be next," said Axtell.

After all this time, Ron Ryan Sr. says even this dark cloud has a silver lining.

"Out of such a tragedy with Ronny and Tim Jones, we found out how many really great, wonderful people are in the community,” said Ryan. “25 years later, they still remember."

Ryan Sr. was a commander with St. Paul Police who retired after 40 years of service. This morning, the Ryan family held their annual mass at the church where Ron Ryan Jr. was killed.

Baker pleaded guilty to two counts of murder and is serving two life sentences without the possibility of parole at the Oak Park Heights prison.