Memories of fallen officer Ortiz shared: ‘I will always call him a brother’

Local News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A community leader who knew Officer Manuel “Manny” Ortiz well spoke out ahead of Friday’s memorial service in an exclusive interview with News 8.

Rose Mary Villarrubia-Izzo is the co-chair of Rochester’s Northeast Safety Committee. She is the daughter of one of the founders of Ibero. She has known officer Ortiz for more than 30 years — and has been involved in the community for decades.

“He had a heart of gold, that was about the people. The passion of loving and that smile that was so charismatic was infectious,” said Villarrubia-Izzo.

They first met when Villarrubia-Izzo was the liaison to the Rochester Police Department for the Rochester City School District.

“I have seen students that have admired him respected him and gone on. You know he would pull them (the kids) down say ‘hey, education is important. What are you doing, buddy?’ it was ‘hey come on, dude.’ That word, I remember it. It’s about touching the lives of others, and that’s what he did,” said Villarrubia-Izzo.

Howevber, when tragedy struck almost a week ago, it just broke Villarrubia-Izzo to pieces.

“I lost someone I loved very much. I will always call him a brother. I pray for him and the entire family and our entire community because, you know, I honestly believe that he impacted our lives in such a positive way,” said Villarrubia-Izzo.

“Our community is hurting, but I think we need to think about what he brought to us, and we pass that one to others. That would be the best thing we can do in his memory. That’s my tribute to Manny, and that is the tribute that I want those people that knew Manny whose lives he touched, to do the same thing.”

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