Saint Paul’s saddest day

Other than 9/11, I can’t recall a sadder day in the Twin Cities than the one that happened 19 years ago today.

Police received a call around 7 a.m. that a man was sleeping in a car in the parking lot of Sacred Heart Church at E. Sixth and Hope Streets. Ron Ryan, a 29-year-old rookie patrolman went to check it out. The man was Guy Harvey Baker, a 26-year-old Marine combat veteran who was wanted in Mason City, Iowa, on a parole violation for illegal possession of firearms. He shot Ryan five times. By 8:30 a.m., officer Ryan was dead.

A couple of kids saw Baker run into the woods near a liquor store on Old Hudson Road. Not entirely unlike the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, the East Side was locked down. People stayed in their homes, police helicopters searched overhead. Dozens of cops with guns searched every neighborhood.

Not more than an hour or so later, Officer Tim Jones, one of the many cops who volunteered to look for Baker, and his K-9, Laser found him hiding in an ice fishing shack. Baker shot him to death and while he stood over Jones’ body, he was jumped by Laser. The dog was also shot to death.

Police found Baker hiding under a pile of lumber and rubbish on Euclid Avenue early in the afternoon.

He pleaded guilty to murder and is serving two life sentences at Oak Park Heights.

Officer Jones’ son was 8 when his dad was murdered. This year he became a Saint Paul cop.