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An officer with the Unified Police Department, who was injured in a fatal shooting last year, was found dead at his Salt Lake City home Saturday.
Officer Jon Richey had recovered from gunshot wounds in both legs after Cory Lee Henderson shot him and fatally shot Officer Doug Barney on Jan. 17, 2016.
The Salt Lake City Police Department was investigating the incident Saturday and stated there were no indications of foul play. The department said in a tweet that a medical examiner would determine Richey's cause of death.
In a news release from Unified Police, Lt. Brian Lohrke said the department was heartbroken over Richey's death. The force "has lost several beloved employees in the last month," the release said, including Detective Brooks Green, Detective Brian Holdaway, Richey and the loss of civilian staff and retirees. Holdaway was buried Saturday morning.
"Although we deal with tragic loss as a part of our everyday service, it is obviously more impactful when it is one of our own," the release said.
The deaths don't appear to be related, the release said. "They are tragedies that unfortunately strike families like our own." Unified and SLCPD expressed condolences to Richey's family and the entire law enforcement community as they mourn, and the release asked for privacy for Richey's family members as they deal with his death.
SLCPD sent out a tweet Saturday afternoon that it was mourning the loss of Richey "with heavy heart" and expressed condolences to Richey's family and the entire law enforcement community.
Richey grew up in Holladay, in the same neighborhood where he was shot three times in the run in with Henderson. His best friend growing up, the late Charles Kirby, also became a police officer. Eris Kirby, the mother of Charles and Tribune columnist Robert Kirby, previously described Richey as "a sweet, fun loving guy. Very polite and very reserved in a crowd." A former colleague of Richey described him as someone who was "able to interview anybody. His mannerisms were so smooth and engaging; he truly taught me how interact with suspects and victims," Salt Lake City Deputy Chief of Police Josh Scharman wrote on LinkedIn. "I tried to mimic his interview style. I am lucky to have had Jon as an investigative mentor as a young pup."
Richey graduated from high school in 1982 and became the youngest police officer in Utah in 1984 at the age of 19, according to a page on The Friends for Unified Police K9 website. He worked in four police departments and trained and handled six police dogs, most recently a bloodhound named Molly. He is "nationally respected for his work in investigations and K9 handling," the release said.
"One of my greatest pleasures is to participate in the successful deployments of each and every K9 Team that I have had the pleasure to work and train with," Richey wrote.
He helped begin the K9 Program at the Salt Lake City Police Department in 1988 and went on to work as a detective in narcotics, larceny, burglary, robbery and homicide. He served as a sergeant, detective and detective sergeant before he took a job with the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office, which has since morphed into the Unified Police Department, in 2007. He has also worked in the West Jordan Police Department.