HOLLADAY — A Unified police officer who was wounded in a deadly encounter Sunday underwent surgery and was in "fair" condition Monday at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, according to police.
Unified Police Lt. Lex Bell reported that Jon Richey, 51, was recovering "miraculously."
Bell added that Richey was in high spirits but stunned by the death of fellow officer Doug Barney, 44, who was shot and killed in the incident.
"I know a lot of them have survivor's remorse. 'Why couldn't we do more? Trying to keep Doug alert.' And that's going to be really hard to deal with for all of us," Bell said.
Richey is a 30-year law enforcement veteran and K-9 trainer.
Unified Police Sgt. Chad Reyes said Richey embodies the ideals of leadership and skill for the rest of the K-9 unit — so much so that they made rubber bracelets last Christmas that said WWJRD: "What Would Jon Richey Do?"
"Just about every time I deploy my K-9, I think about Jon," Reyes said.
Richey started his career in 1984, when he became the youngest police officer in the state at age 19, according to the Friends for Unified Police K-9 website.
Over the course of his career, Richey brought national and international renown to the K-9 units he trained and became known by colleagues as the "Doggie Lama," Reyes said.
Three days before the deadly shootout Sunday, Richey was transferred into the patrol unit and partnered with Barney, according to Reyes. He said Richey and his wife were looking forward to winding down a career that often took Richey into the path of felons and drug traffickers.
Then, on Sunday morning, what should have been a routine response to a car crash turned into a bloody shootout.
Richey was shot directly in the leg, according to Reyes, who said fragments of a second bullet also entered his leg.
Richey was hospitalized in serious condition and underwent surgery Sunday.
On Monday, Salt Lake Comic Con co-founders Dan Farr and Bryan Brandenburg announced a fundraiser for the officers and their families, calling them "heroes of the community."
Richey's son is a Salt Lake Comic Con volunteer, according to Brandenburg.
"We have these heroes come to our events," Brandenburg said. "Then something like this happens. Now is the time we really need to step up and show some support for these heroes that have supported us."1 comment on this story
For every Salt Lake Comic Con FanX ticket sold Monday or Tuesday, the organization will donate half of the proceeds to the officers' families. Farr and Brandenburg personally committed to donate at least $2,500 to the families.
Speaking from the hospital Monday evening, Reyes reported that Richey was recovering well and thinking of Barney and his family.
"He is overwhelmed by the support from the community and the law enforcement community in general," Reyes said. "They deeply appreciate it."