• Search

Hero Down: Sacramento County Sheriff’s K9 Riley Fatally Shot While Apprehending Parolee

by Sandy Malone and Holly Matkin

Sacramento, CA – Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) K9 Riley died in the line of duty on Monday, after he jumped into a vehicle to apprehend and armed parolee.

The incident began at about 10:07 p.m. on Jan. 18, when sheriff’s deputies spotted a car that matched the description of the suspect vehicle in a series of burglaries in a parking lot near Arden Way and Avondale Avenue, the SCSO said in a press release posted to their official Facebook page.

SCSO said the deputies approached the suspect vehicle and confirmed the driver was on active parole.

When deputies attempted to search the vehicle, the suspect became uncooperative and then fled, according to the press release.

The sheriff’s department said deputies pursued the suspect into the Cal Expo Complex in the 1600-block of Exposition Boulevard and there the suspect crashed into a curb and disabled his own vehicle.

Deputies gave multiple commands for the suspect to exit the vehicle but he refused, according to the press release.

Then they shot less-lethal beanbag rounds into the suspect’s back car windows to try and break them and see inside the vehicle, according to SCSO.

After that, the sheriff’s department said a Sacramento County sheriff’s K9 handler deployed K9 Riley into the back window of the vehicle to apprehend the suspect.

The suspect opened fire on the dog inside the vehicle, according to the press release.

Then he started shooting at the sheriff’s deputies assembled outside.

Deputy Gibson, 31, and another deputy were hit by gunfire, SCSO said in the press release.

K9 Riley died from his wounds at the scene.

The sheriff’s department said deputies did not wait for an ambulance and instead put the wounded heroes in the back of patrol vehicles and quickly transported them to a nearby hospital.

Deputy Adam Gibson, a six-year veteran of SCSO, was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital, according to the press release.

SCSO said that Deputy Gibson, 31, was a U.S. Marine who served two tours in Afghanistan before he joined the sheriff’s department in 2014.

He worked in corrections, patrol, and most recently became a K9 handler, the press release said.

Deputy Gibson is survived by his wife, Rachel Gibson, and their nine-month-old child.

SCSO said the other wounded deputy, a 43-year-old, 13-year veteran of the sheriff’s department, was stabilized and transferred to a trauma center.

The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the press release.

K9 Riley, a five-year-old Belgian Malinois, served the SCSO for three years, the SCSO said.

“It’s tragic,” Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones said during a press conference in the wake of the incident, according to the Los Angeles Times. “I try to find the right thing to say…there’s really nothing. I’m just trying to fight back tears, like everyone else.”

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office in the loss of K9 Riley.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin


Sign up to our daily newsletter so you don't miss out on the latest events surrounding law enforcement!

Follow Me

Follow us on social media and be sure to mark us as "See First."