Incident DetailsCause of Death:
Officer David Richards died as the result of a complication of a gunshot wound suffered 42½ years earlier.
He was searching for a gang of horse thieves with two other officers when they interrupted an unrelated gang of four burglars who were dividing the spoils of their crime. The men opened fire and Officer Richards was shot in the left foot during the ensuing gunbattle but survived.
He was able to return to duty but was medically retired in 1911 due to continued pain and medical issues with his foot and leg. On January 1, 1922, his foot was amputated and he died two days later from complications at Joseph Eastman Hospital.
All four suspects were eventually apprehended. The shooter was later sentenced to two years in prison and pardoned in 1881. The other men were sentenced from 30 days to six months in jail.
Officer Richards was widowed and survived by his daughter and two sons.
• Officer Richards is the oldest known officer killed in the line of duty in Indiana.
• He is the longest serving known officer killed in the line of duty in Indiana.
• Officer Richards has the longest incident to line of duty death duration in Indiana.
The responsibilities of the Indianapolis Police Department (1854–2006) are now under the jurisdiction of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.