A security guard who was killed at Guelph’s downtown train station is being remembered as someone who loved horses and who would give you the shirt off of his back.
Mario Ruffolo was allegedly attacked at Guelph Central Station on Wednesday night and later pronounced dead in hospital.
Guelph police arrested 21-year-old Jordan Langelier at the scene and charged him second-degree murder.
It’s unclear how long Ruffolo had been working at the train station, but he was a security guard at Mohawk Race Track in Milton for 25 years before leaving in May 2016.
“A former horseman, Mario was passionate about our sport and known by many throughout the community,” Woodbine Entertainment spokesperson Mark McKelvie said. “We are all saddened by this tragedy and send our deepest condolences to his family and friends.”
Chris Pomay started working at Mohawk in 1999 and said Ruffolo immediately took him under his wing.
“He would show me the patrol rounds and who to give a break to and show me ‘this is how this is done,’” Pomay said in an interview on Friday.
“He’d tell me stories about horsemen. He’d always be like, ‘hey, do you want a hot chocolate or something?’ He was a great guy and would give you the shirt off of his back.”
Pomay said he and the other senior guards found out about Ruffolo’s death on Thursday.
“I was really sad and upset because Mario was such a nice guy. He wouldn’t hurt a fly,” he said.
Ruffolo’s family is well-known in the horse racing community and some of his relatives race at Mohawk, but Pomay said he has not had a chance to speak with them.
“He loved horse racing, he loved his horses and being around them,” Pomay said.
“I enjoyed my time working with him, befriending him and him having shown me how things work around the race track.”
Ruffolo was employed by GardaWorld at their Guelph branch and was working security at the train station on Wednesday night.
“We are deeply shocked and saddened by the tragic death,” the security agency said in a statement. “Our thoughts are with the family, friends, and loved ones of our colleague during this difficult time.”
Metrolinx, which owns the property Guelph Central Station is situated on, also released a statement on Thursday afternoon.
“We are extremely saddened by the news that a security guard under contract with one of our transit partners was killed at Guelph Central Station,” Metrolinx stated. “Our thoughts are with the victim’s family and friends.”
Guelph police didn’t say what led up to the alleged attack that happened in the underground tunnel connecting the train station to a parking lot on Farquhar Street.
They did say there have been ongoing issues with unwanted people on the premises.
Langelier made a brief court appearance on Thursday but didn’t speak to the court except to confirm his identity and birthdate.
He remains in custody and will return to court on Tuesday.
Guelph police are still looking for witnesses to come forward.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Guelph police at 519-824-1212. Anonymous information can be left with Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or through their website.
This is Guelph’s first homicide since July 2017.