On December 2nd, 2016 the King County Sheriff’s Office unveiled a memorial honoring the 18 members of our department who lost their lives in the line of duty since the founding of the KCSO in 1853.
Today, on the anniversary of the passing of Deputy Richard Herzog, we want to take a moment and honor his memory.
Deputy Richard Herzog: June 22, 2002
On Saturday, June 22, 2002 at about 1702 hours, Deputy Rich Herzog of the King County Sheriff’s Office and assigned to the city of Newcastle, responded to the report of a naked black male causing a disturbance in traffic near the 7300 block of Coal Creek Parkway SE. Radio advised that the male had been pounding on car hoods and on the door of a Metro bus near the McDonald’s, just north of Newport Crossing Apartments.
Deputy Herzog responded from Newcastle City Hall and arrived moments later. He ordered the suspect, Ronald Matthews, to get out of the street. Matthews, who had ingested crack cocaine earlier, refused and instead charged at Deputy Herzog. Deputy Herzog attempted to subdue Matthews by spraying him with OC-10, but it had no effect on him. A struggle ensued and Matthews tried to fight for Deputy Herzog’s gun. The two ended up on the ground and fought. The gun was pulled from its holster and fell to the ground. Matthews picked it up and loaded the magazine back into the pistol, as it had fallen out. Deputy Herzog began to run away from Matthews who then fired at Deputy Herzog, striking him in the leg. Deputy Herzog fell to the ground and Matthew continued at him where he then fired four rounds into the back of Deputy Herzog’s head, killing him.
Responding deputies heard Deputy Herzog arrive at the scene and then a request for incoming units to “step it up.” Then there were sounds of a fight before Deputy Herzog broadcast, “He’s got my gun!” Gunshots were heard over the air. Next, a woman who came to Deputy Herzog’s aid came over the police radio and asked for help.
After witnessing the shooting, a male armed himself with a handgun and confronted Matthews. Seeing that the slide of the Glock Model 22 was locked to the rear, he didn’t shoot Matthews. Matthews walked into the complex and into an apartment at Newport Crossing. He called 911 and talked to a 911 call receiver, indirectly admitting to her that he murdered Deputy Herzog.
Matthews surrendered and was taken into custody, then transported to the King County Sheriff’s Office Precinct 3 in Maple Valley for an interview, before he was transported to the King County Jail.
Matthews was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
There is a memorial dedicated by the City of Newcastle honoring Deputy Herzog along the sidewalk on the northbound side of Coal Creek Parkway SE near the spot where he was killed.
Deputy Richard Anthony Herzog was 46 and had served with the King County Sheriff's Office for 7 years. His daughter Erika also worked with KCSO for 3 years in a number of assignments.
Our thoughts are with Rich’s family and friends as we pay tribute to him on this day.
Be well. Stay safe -
Sheriff Mitzi G. Johanknecht