Sunday, October 25, 2009

35 Years Ago

On the morning of October 24, 1974, I was a 25-year old rookie sitting in the Central New York Regional Police Academy. I don't recall what the instructor was talking about.

Syracuse Police First Deputy Chief John Dillion walked into our classroom and announced the shooting death of Trooper Emerson Dillion on the NYS Thruway at the hands of an armed robber.

Trooper Dillion was thirty-eight years old. There were twenty-five brand-spanking shiny new cops in the room. Suddenly our new careers did not seem so glamorous.

The man who murdered Trooper Emerson is up for parole next month.

The following is a transcript of a presentation from WSYR, our local ABC affilate, prepared by Christie Casciano.

Trooper's widow fights to keep her husband's killer from parole

Phoenix (WSYR-TV) - 35 years after her husband was shot and killed on the Thruway near Canastota, a state trooper's widow is getting ready for another round in her battle to keep his killer behind bars. The killer has been in prison for 34 years, and will be seeking parole next month.

The pain for June Dillon is still deep from her loss on October 24th, 1974. That was the day her high school sweetheart and the father of her six children was gunned down on the Thruway near Canastota.

Trooper Emerson Dillon had stopped a speeding car near Canastota, unaware the two men in the car had just robbed a DeWitt jewelry store. No notice was given to troopers on the Thruway. “He didn't know there had been a robbery,” June Dillon said. “He just saw a car and he didn't like it and he stopped it.”

Emerson Dillon managed to return fire, striking the vehicle, and his killers were later caught. While newspaper articles have faded to yellow, the memory of that dark day, and the days that followed, remain vivid to June Dillon.

“I was watching the noon news with our dog,” she said. “I said well Murphy, it's not us, because we would have known. But I was wrong.”

The man who shot her husband, John Ruzas from Queens , now 66, was convicted of second degree murder and has served the minimum. In November, he will get another chance to ask for freedom.

Dillon says Ruzas shouldn't be granted anything because he has taken so much away.

“He didn’t see any graduations, weddings, or babies,” she said. The day of her husband's funeral, and through the years, Dillon has received support from the law enforcement community, and she's hoping they and others will join her now in her fight to keep Ruzas behind bars.

“I don't think anybody who kills a trooper, or anybody who kills a law enforcement officer, should ever have the possibility of parole,” she said.

Ruzas comes up for parole for the eighth time in November.

For June Dillon, it marks another year of remembrance and heartbreak.

This is the link to the NYS PArole Board where you can submit a letter regarding the parole of John Ruzas.

WSYR reporter Christie Casciano is married to a Syracuse Police Sergeant. We all thank her for her continuous support and for being the one to finally calm her husband the hell down.

One of Trooper Dillion' s sons is a Syracuse Police Officer. I had the pleasure and privilege of working with him shortly before I retired. He is an exemplary officer and is still serving his community and his County in this honorable capacity.


Cookie..... said...

Don't know if you're aware or not Sig, I was involved with that investigation along with Dick Hauman. We covered the jewelry store robbery on North Salina Street and then went out to the Oneida barracks to interrogate him and the other suspects after the troopers had caught them. A sad day indeed.

sig94 said...

I had exactly that in mind last night Cookie.