Sergeant Ronald L. Heaps

Sergeant Ronald L. Heaps

Salt Lake City Police Department, Utah

End of Watch Wednesday, January 13, 1982

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Ronald L. Heaps

Sergeant Ronald Heaps was shot and killed while investigating a loud music complaint. Unbeknownst to Sergeant Heaps, one of the subjects was wanted for the October 1, 1981, murder of Officer Johnny Martinez, of the California Highway Patrol.

As Sergeant Heaps made contact with the subject the man produced a handgun from his waistband and opened fire. One of the rounds struck Sergeant Heaps in his collar bone, just above his vest, and traveled into his chest. Despite being wounded, Sergeant Heaps was able to return fire and broadcast an officer down call.

Other responding officers engaged the suspects in a shootout, killing both men. One other officer was also wounded in the shootout.

Sergeant Heaps was transported to a local hospital where he succumbed to his wounds shortly after midnight.

Sergeant Heaps had served with the agency for 6-1/2 years. He was survived by his wife and four children.


  • Age 32
  • Tour 6 years, 6 months
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Incident Date Tuesday, January 12, 1982
  • Weapon Handgun
  • Offender Shot and killed

Most Recent Reflection

View all 25 Reflections

Thank you Sgt. Heaps for your service and sacrifice to the citizens of Salt Lake City. You and your fellow officers stood tall that day and faced danger with tepidity and courage. My twin brother went through the academy with Johnny Martinez. They were both U.S. Marines and became good friends in the academy--they also worked together in Los Angeles after graduating from the CHP Academy. Johnny's death greatly affected my brother. The suspect who shot Sgt. Heaps and Johnny was a stone cold killer and gang banger. The suspect's companion was no better. I thank all of those from Salt Lake City PD who gave so much that day. I later worked with the Salt Lake S.O. and PD on occasion, including some of the SWAT members of the PD, when we went to a class together. Both were great departments.

Jim Lopey, Asst. Sheriff (ret)
Washoe Sheriff (Reno, Nv) & NVDPS

January 13, 2021

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