Hialeah City Council candidate and retired police detective Ricardo “Ricky” García, died Monday from a heart attack. He was 51.
García was taken to Hialeah Hospital’s emergency room Monday morning, but doctors were unable to save him.
Former Hialeah police chief Rolando Bolaños confirmed García’s death. Bolaños was outside the hospital’s emergency room with friends accompanying the widow, Lidia García.
Born In Cárdenas, in Cuba’s province of Matanzas, García had planned to go to City Hall on Monday to register his candidacy for the council seat now occupied by Councilman Paul “Pablito” Hernández.
“What has happened is incredible,” Hernández said. “I want to express my condolences to Detective García’s family. Hialeah will always be proud and grateful for his time and dedication as a public servant.”
Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernández also expressed his condolences to García’s family.
“It’s another sad blow,” the mayor said. “We are still not recovered from Friday’s tragedy in which six people died violently and now we learn of the death of a former city police officer.”
In May 2012, after 28 years of service, García retired from Hialeah’s police department amid allegations of having been victim of retaliation for denouncing a case of electoral fraud in Hialeah in the 2011 city elections.
García had become a player in Hialeah politics and was joined by several opponents of Mayor Hernández’s current administration.
In several interviews with El Nuevo Herald, García had expressed his interest in strengthening the supervision over the city.
“Ricky was a great employee serving the community and one of the most important voices supporting Hialeah,” said Tony Vega, who ran unsuccessfully for the council in 2011. “Today we have lost a good man and citizen.”
The former president of the Hialeah’s firemen union, Mario Pico, said García had been an outstanding police officer and one of the smartest and boldest detectives the Police Department had.
“He served Hialeah with dedication and passion,” Pico said. “He was always proud of Hialeah and hopeful to work toward making it a model city.”