Former Lemoore marine dies in Afghanistan plane crash

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A former Valley marine is being remembered. Christopher Ruiz was killed in a plane crash last week in Afghanistan. He was 29-years-old, a husband and a father.

In High School, Ruiz was an explorer at the Lemoore Police Department and Commander Margarita Ochoa was his mentor.

"He was one of those kids, right off the get go, he knew that he wanted to instruct, he wanted to teach and he wanted to serve," Ochoa said.

Back then, Ochoa says Ruiz was a leader and helped others in the program learn how to march. He was also one of the top students at his high school -- a cadet commander in the NROTC Program.

"We knew Chris, we knew what type of person he was," said Soledad Perez who is a community service officer. "Willing to give and help others, that's why it's so devastating."

Ruiz lived a life filled with promise and it ended on October 2nd in a plane crash. He was in Afghanistan, post military, working as a civilian contractor, far from his wife and 3 kids.

"He may not have had the Marine Corps uniform on while he was there, but you know, he was there because he knew he was doing a service to his country," said Lorelyn Ruiz who is now a widow.

The crash killed 11 people: Ruiz, 6 U.S. airmen and 4 other civilians.

3 weeks before it happened, Commander Ochoa says Ruiz reached out to her to ask for advice on pursuing a career in law enforcement.

Ochoa said, "He wanted to come home and be with his family."

Back home to the states where his life would have come full circle.

"It's sad, there's nothing that can take the pain away," Ochoa said.

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