Sergeant Richard Earl Deffner

Sergeant Richard Earl Deffner

Sacramento County Sheriff's Office, California

End of Watch Thursday, January 21, 1988

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Richard Earl Deffner

Sergeant Richard Deffner was shot and killed while conducting a search for an armed robbery suspect at 10333 White Rock Road.

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.


  • Age 36
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge S-123

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; .45 caliber
  • Offender Shot and killed

robbery, swat

Most Recent Reflection

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Rick was in the 40th Central Coast Counties basic Police Academy at Gavilan college in Gilroy, Ca. from Sept. thru December 1976. He was an officer with the Capitola Police Dept. at the time and I was with San Juan Bautista PD. We talked every day for about 10 weeks until graduation. I remember him saying he will eventually transfer back to the Sacto area where he was from once he receives lateral status. I did not know he was killed in the line of duty way back when and never had contact once we all graduated. I remember him as an easy going person, kind of quiet but good natured. May he rest in peace.

Glenn Hilpert
Retired, Santa Clara County Sheriff's Dept.

May 27, 2021

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