HERRIMAN – Herriman Police held back tears as they remembered Hondo, an elite K9 who was killed while trying to chase down a murder suspect in downtown Salt Lake City.
US Marshalls had asked Herriman Police Sgt. Ben Ricks and his partner, Hondo, to help catch 41-year-old Brian Filion, who was wanted for murder in the Ogden area. Both the dog and Filion were shot and killed late Thursday night near 400 East and 300 South.
The Marshalls say Filion flashed a handgun before the shooting, but it’s unclear whose bullet hit Hondo’s sternum
During a Valentine’s Day news conference, Chief Troy Carr comended Hondo’s bravery.
“Hondo was a true warrior. And his actions last night insured his loving friend and partner, Ben, would return home to his wife and children and the HPD family. We mourn the loss of [a] member of our family, but we honor his sacrifice.
Lt. Cody Stromberg said the dog did his job.
“A lot of the deeds that these animals do are unrecognized…But Hondo and Sgt. Ricks [were] clearly one of the best K9 teams in the state if not the country,” Stromberg said.
Sgt. Ricks and Hondo had won numerous awards in national and international law enforcement competitions. The dog also helped arrest 100 violent felons and had sniffed out hundreds of pounds of illegal drugs in his career.
Herriman Police say Sgt. Ricks is also deputized with the US Marshalls service, which is why he and Hondo were part of last night’s operation.
The dog was not wearing a bullet-proof vest for fear he would become dehydrated during a surveillance operation. Once US Marshalls quickly decided to arrest Filion, it became too late to put on the vest.
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