Thursday, May 7, 2020

Would-Be Cop Killer Finds Freedom, Seeks Romance, Finds Death

By Ralph Cipriano

Twenty-two years ago, John Ruane was a cop patrolling the North Philly Badlands when he interrupted a turf battle between rival drug dealers.

"We drove right into the middle of an execution in progress," recalled Ruane, now a trustee at the FOP. Four drug dealers were in the process of dispatching a rival drug dealer. But when the cops showed up, Ruane said, "the four shooters turned their guns toward us."

Bullets struck the Ford Bronco that Ruane and two fellow cops were riding in. Ruane saw a bullet hole in the window of the Bronco at eye level; another 9 mm round caught the bottom edge of the back of his police vest. It was another case of being saved by Kevlar, the bulletproof plastic in police vests. The distance between the bullet hole and the edge of the vest was about the size of a thumb.

The drug dealer who shot Ruane, Alberto "Hawk" Pagan, wound up getting sentenced to jail in 1999 for 22 to 44 years for the attempted murder of a police officer, as well as other charges. Imagine Ruane's surprise when he heard from fellow cops that halfway through his prison term, Pagan was not only back on the streets again, but also on Facebook, seeking "to make female friends."

"Thanks D.A. Larry Krasner for NOT letting me know you let out the guy who shot me 22 years ago, out of prison halfway through his 44 year sentence!" Ruane wrote Tuesday night on social media. "Apparently he [Pagan] has been making new friends on FB since his release in November."

According to the state parole locator, the 61-year-old, 5-foot-4, 170-pound Pagan was released on Dec. 3rd, but his newfound freedom lasted only five months.

"Ironically Karma caught up with him last night on Byberry Road in Parkwood where he was shot multiple times and killed," Ruane wrote. "Sorry ladies, he's back off the market again . . . If the politicians won't protect the police, then what chance do the rest of the law abiding citizens have???"

How did Pagan get out of jail 22 years early?

As usual, the district attorney's office isn't talking. District Attorney Larry Krasner and Jane Roh, his spokesperson, did not respond to a request for comment.

A spokesperson for the D.A.'s office, however, told 6ABC, "Courts and prisons have jurisdiction over the release of prisoners; the DAO does not."

In other words, it's not their fault.

Ruane was upset that nobody told him about the early release of Pagan. "He very well could have come after my family, myself, I had no idea," Ruane told 6ABC.

"I was told that was the law," Ruane told Big Trial about the required notification of victims, "but it's not enforced."

In the statement to 6ABC, the D.A.'s office claimed that when prisoners are released early, the state's Office of Victims Advocate is supposed to notify crime victims. But on 6ABC, both Ruane and FOP President John McNesby blamed Krasner for Pagan's early release, and for not informing Ruane.

"It's been a carnival act since he [Krasner] took over and we knew this was gonna happen," McNesby told 6ABC.

"It's my belief it was intentional because we would have opposed it," Ruane told 6ABC about the D.A.'s lack of notification.

As usual, when Krasner's office speaks, it's not to be trusted. Critics have consistently ripped the D.A.'s office for not notifying victims about the early release of prisoners as a result of plea bargains worked out by Krasner's prosecutors.

"Growing pains," was how Krasner dismissively described his office's consistent failure to notify victims about the early release of the criminals who had victimized them in a Newsweek story published Oct. 31, 2018. But the director of the state Office of Victim Advocate had a harsher assessment. She was quoted in the Newsweek story as saying that when it came to notifying crime victims, Krasner's office was in "complete violation" of the law.

There wasn't much official information released about the circumstances surrounding Pagan's murder.

It happened on the 3100 block of Byberry Road. The shooter arrived on the block shortly before 9 p.m., about an hour before Pagan pulled up to a house where a relative lives. The shooter was obviously stalking Pagan as he paced the area, while kids rode by on bicycles.

Pagan arrived on the street shortly after 10 p.m. He went inside a relative's house, then came back out again and stood in the front yard. The shooter was standing in the middle of Byberry Road, right across from Pagan. The two men were close enough to have exchanged words. They might have even known each other. Pagan then got into his car. But he wasn't going anywhere.

The shooter walked right up to Pagan's car and fired three shots through the window. After the shots rang out, Pagan got out of the car and walked back toward the house before he appeared to collapse. The shooter, meanwhile, jumped in his car, which was parked up the block, and took off.

Ruane wondered if Pagan, after he got out of jail, was trying to reclaim his share of the local drug business, and that's why he may have been killed, possibly by a rival drug dealer.

If that's what happened, it wasn't anything that Pagan hadn't done to others.

Pagan's career as a drug dealer is described in another case, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Aurelio "June Bug" Ramos. In a 1987 state Supreme Court decision affirming the conviction of Ramos on third-degree murder charges, the court stated that Alberto "Hawk" Pagan, a drug dealer, was responsible for the execution of Frank Morales, described as a small-time drug dealer from Eighth and Butler.

The murder of Morales, according to trial testimony, was ordered by "Hawk Pagan, a rival drug dealer in the Eighth and Butler area . . . in retaliation for encroaching upon Hawk's territory."

Witnesses at trial said they had heard Pagan previously warn Morales that he would be killed if he was caught selling drugs on Pagan's turf.

When Pagan went to trial for shooting at Ruane and his fellow officers, he was convicted on one count of attempted murder, three counts of aggravated assault, three counts of reckless endangerment, along with firearms charges. Ruane still remembers the trial judge, the late Lisa Richette, exclaiming from the bench, "Oh my God," when she heard the details about the shootings.

"She was horrified," Ruane said.

In 2015, Pagan, representing himself, went to court to protest that his appeal to get out of jail had been turned down under the state's Post-Conviction Relief Act. Pagan had claimed that his original sentence was illegal. He also claimed that he had newly discovered evidence in the form of a handwritten statement from Maria Caraballo, who claimed she hadn't been notified of Pagan's original trial so that she could have appeared as an alibi witness.

But on Feb. 17, 2015, the state Superior Court ruled that Pagan's appeal was without merit. It was just the latest denial in Pagan's appeal process that court records say had been going on without success since 2012.

What happened to change Pagan's legal fortunes? At present, we have no explanation, other than our current D.A., Larry Krasner, never met a criminal he didn't like, or want to do a favor for.

As for Ruane, he said he went on social media earlier this week because he wanted to point out that the D.A. was failing in his duty to protect the citizens.

As for the demise of Hawk Pagan, Ruane said, "We're not crying over it."


  1. I would say that this is incredible but with Krasner as DA, instituting the twisted policies he embraces with bizarre passion, appropriate criticisms evade me. Fortunately, this fine citizen he let out of prison early did not kill anyone else before he met his creator, a final judgment he cannot avoid.

  2. Last week we saw a very emotional funeral of a SWAT officer. The Mayor and the Police Commissioner were completely floored that a SWAT armored vehicle was used to carry the casket along with SWAT pallbearers who rode to the church and the cemetery with their deceased good friend which was a very touching farewell from friends to a very good friend.

    No regrets for Hawk Pagan who will find women deep in the bowels of hell.

  3. There are no tears to be shed for this waste of human space. The damage this scumbag did, wreaked havoc amongst people. Failed attempts to intimidate and instill fear in others, just because he was a member of the 7 drawfs and refused to take his place. A coward who couldn't be a real man, who had children but had been incapable of raising to be proper members of society. Quick to pull a gun out of fear for the other person would stomp his dwarf ass into the ground. He shot police officers, ordered murders, raped women, beat women. He came out of prison arrogant and ignorant as always, that is until Karma found him on Byberry Road.
    There are no tears to be shed for this degenerate, only a Thank you to Karma and job well done. Krassner can take a few lessons from this.

  4. What is Ruane’s recourse for Krasner’s violation of 18 P.S. § 11.101 CRIME VICTIMS ACT?


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