Utah K-9 dies in line of duty, along with wanted man

Local News

HERRIMAN, Utah (ABC4 News) – A shooting in Salt Lake City left an officer’s K-9 and a wanted man dead.

Blue ribbons are tied to trees and lamps and a police department K-9 unit is on display outside Herriman City Hall as a growing memorial in memory of Hondo. Hondo is a Herriman City Police Department K-9 who was killed in the line of duty Thursday night.

“The tragedy is that it’s only when these animals do their job that we recognize their value. And Hondo did his job last night because Ben was able to go home to his family,” said Lt. Cody Stromberg, HCPD’s public information officer.

Stromberg said 6-year-old Hondo is certified in patrol and narcotics and started his career in 2015 with the Unified Police Department. And in 2018, he transferred with his handler, Sgt. Ben Ricks, to Herriman’s police department.

“Hondo and Sgt. Ricks, clearly one of the best k-9 teams state, if not the country,” Stromberg said. “Not only in their work product, and apprehending dangerous fugitives, and getting narcotics off the streets, but also through their annual competitions.”

Officials said Hondo was assisting with the United States Marshal Violent Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team to locate Brian Filion.

“He was a suspect in a homicide as well as having the role, fugitive warrant from adult probation and parole,” said Brandon Holt, a U.S. Marshall chief deputy for the Utah district.

Officials said when they found Filion, officers had Hondo try to stop him.

Salt Lake City Police Department is investigating if the Belgian Malinois was shot by friendly fire or the suspect, according to Stromberg.

Now, it’s about taking care of those who were at the scene when Hondo died.

“Our focus is on Ben and our other employees, our officers – both those who were there last night and the rest of our family and community to make sure we provide adequate resources to grieve together, to move forward and to address the needs we have here,” Stromberg said.

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