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Sergeant Richard Earl Deffner | Sacramento County Sheriff's Department, California Sacramento County Sheriff's Department, California


Richard Earl Deffner

Sacramento County Sheriff's Department, California

End of Watch: Thursday, January 21, 1988

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 36

Tour: Not available

Badge # S-123

Cause: Gunfire

Weapon: Handgun; .45 caliber

Offender: Shot and killed

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Sergeant Richard Deffner was shot and killed while conducting a search for an armed robbery suspect.

He was commanding a Special Operations Team looking for the suspect who had recently robbed several businesses at gunpoint. After a chase, the suspect fled from the officers as he fired at them. He was later located and another gunfight ensued.

A controlled search area was created and the Special Operations Team began searching for him. Thinking that the suspect may have gone up to a roof, which would give him a vantage point to fire at officers, Sergeant Deffner climbed onto a roof to check it. After hearing noises, he peered over the side and was shot in the face by the suspect who was on the ground, hiding in an area used as a dog run.

The subject then fled into a nearby apartment where he briefly held two women and an infant hostage. The man was fatally shot by officers when he came out of the apartment and opened fire.

Sergeant Deffner was posthumously awarded the Medal of Valor for his actions. He is survived by his wife, son, stepson, and parents.

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Most Recent Reflection

Meine Reichart,
I never got to share with you how wrong you were about me. . . I became a nurse. . .more specifically a pediatric nurse who works with children who die. I am sorry my friends were more amiable for you than I was and I am sorry the man who killed you we delivered Christmas to his family and I am sure you were trying to help him. . .and he was not listening to you. His children I am sure will remember your kindness as we stood in his doorway with that huge box of food and all those gifts in those silly red sweatshirts and Santa hats. I still do that you know. . .silly red sweatshirts and Santa hats and deliver to families all over Sacramento. . .

I have long since forgiven you. . . I hope your son and you became friends. . .and I hope you were happy when you passed. I will never be Maria your "intellectual breath of fresh air", and I will never be Beth. . . I am sorry I was too "soft" to handle your line of work. . . I am sorry about our daughter. . . I could not handle holding her dead in my hands. . . I had to walk away. . . I hope you understood.

You have my love always.


2nd wife
March 2, 2017


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