Officer John W. Ruggiero

Officer John W. Ruggiero

Fall River Police Department, Massachusetts

End of Watch Monday, July 23, 1973

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John W. Ruggiero

Officer John Ruggiero was shot and killed while investigating a suspicious vehicle on Boutwell Street at 3:30 am.

He had observed the car driving without lights and began to follow the car. The vehicle pulled into a parking lot and two men jumped out and ran towards Officer Ruggiero's patrol car while shooting at him. The suspects, 26 and 34, were apprehended a short time later. The youngest was sentenced to life.

In 1988 Officer Ruggiero's wife as well as others throughout this nation were enraged when they found out since 1984 her husband's killer had been released more than 30 times under Massachusetts' furlough program. One inmate released, committed a brutal attack and rape. Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis, running for president, saw his leed in the poles evaporate. This and his famous tank ride led to his loss to George H.W. Bush. Furlough programs existed in 40 states, but were done away with over the next two years due to public pressure.

Officer Ruggiero was a U.S. Navy veteran and had served with the Fall River Police Department for almost three years. He was survived by his wife and two children.


  • Age 27
  • Tour 3 years
  • Badge 167
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; .38 caliber
  • Offender Sentenced to life

suspicious vehicle

Most Recent Reflection

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Officer Ruggerio, it has been 50 years since you were taken from us. New England law enforcement has continued to thrive, learn and become safer due to the traditions and sacrifices you, your family, and many others have made for us. Thank you for your service.

Chief (Ret) Steven Marshall
Georges Mills, NH

July 23, 2023

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