Utah police mourn death of Unified Police Officer Jon Richey

Posted at 2:37 PM, Feb 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-11 23:35:43-05

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah -- Jon Richey, a Unified Police Department Officer who was injured last year in the same attack that left officer Doug Barney dead, was found deceased inside his home Saturday.

Salt Lake City Police confirmed Saturday that 52-year-old Jon Richey, a former Salt Lake City Police sergeant and a current UPD Officer since 2007, was found dead after officers went to check on him when he didn't arrive for work as scheduled.

"He retired here in 2007, that's when he went to UPD and he's been working there ever since," said Sgt. Robin Heiden of Salt Lake City Police. "So we all know him, we all loved him, we all respected him and we'll miss him."

Unified Police said prior to serving in their department, Richey worked in West Jordan.

"He is nationally respected for his work in investigations and K9 handling," UPD stated. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the Richey family as they deal with the sudden loss of Jon."

SLC Police are handling the investigation and say at this point there are no indications of foul play. A medical examiner will determine the cause of death.

"Our #ThoughtsAndPrayers are with Jon's family as well as all of the law enforcement community who #mourns at this time," SLC Police tweeted.

Lt. Brian Lohrke, Unified PD, also tweeted his condolences and a photo of Richey taken at Barney's funeral. Lohrke noted the department received the tragic news on the same day they laid Detective Brian Holdaway to rest.

Richey responded to the same call that led to the death of Officer Doug Barney in January of 2016, and Richey was shot and suffered leg injuries during the exchange of gunfire with Cory Lee Henderson, the suspect who was killed. Richey was shot just minutes after Barney was killed, and the pair were shift partners who often took calls together.

Last year police said Richey was well-known for his devotion to his K9 partners.

Unified Officer Jon Richey

Unified Officer Jon Richey

"He's been called several times the ‘Doggie Lama.’ As I mentioned, Jon takes dog training very seriously," Sgt. Chad Reyes said last year, noting Richey has claimed several national and international awards for police dog training.

Unified PD noted that Richey's death is the latest in several tragedies Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office has endured in recent weeks, including the deaths of detectives Brooks Green and Brian Holdaway as well as several civilian staff and retired members.

"Based on the information we currently have, these deaths are not related; they are tragedies that unfortunately strike families like our own," Unified Police stated. "To protect the integrity of ongoing investigations and the privacy of the affected families, we will not go into further detail or comment about the investigations."

UPD said they are grateful for the support they've received from neighboring law enforcement agencies and government entities, saying that support will be needed as they endure this tough time.