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Total Fatalities: 80—↓ 1%
Firearms-related: 30—↓ 21%
Traffic-related: 32—↑ 10%
Other Causes: 18—↑ 29%
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Capitol Police officer Federico A. Ruiz uses his garage as an art studio. (Credit: Roll Call)
Capitol Police Officer Paints to Heal
Federico Ruiz searched for survivors in the Pentagon on 9/11
Sitting in his garage just a few miles from the Capitol, where his job is to protect the building and those in it, Federico A. Ruiz is surrounded by splatters, brushes stiff with dried paint, and the rattling of a fan mounted on the wall. The Capitol Police officer is an artist when he comes home and his garage is his studio. Painting is a way for him to cope with his memories from the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.
In 2001, he was a team leader for a search and rescue team based at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. He had been in the Army for five years.
On 9/11, his pager went off, “and I knew the number that I needed to call so I called it and it was my boss [who] said, ‘A plane just crashed into one of the towers in New York and we don’t know what’s going on. Can you get your team ready?’” Ruiz recalled. “Before I got to the floor that I needed to, I had the second pager go off and they said another plane had hit the other tower and to scramble the team to get on the tarmac.”
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