Hundreds pay tribute to Dayton detective killed in drug raid

Dayton leader calls DelRio ‘ compassionate, dedicated and committed to family and community.’

Hundreds of uniformed police officers, DEA agents and members of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies filled the halls of Grandview Medical Center on Thursday to pay their respects and say goodbye to a Dayton police detective who was critically injured by gunfire this week while serving a search warrant.

Detective Jorge DelRio, 55, died on Thursday, three days after being shot twice in the face as he searched the basement of a suspected drug house in northwest Dayton.

DelRio, a 30-year veteran of the Dayton Police Department who has been praised for dedicating his life to removing dangerous drugs from the street, had his organs removed and donated. Officials said it was a fitting last act for someone who spent his life helping others and making sacrifices for the community.

“We have not even begun to adjust to a professional and personal life that includes Jorge’s absence,” Dayton police Chief Richard Biehl said Thursday afternoon. “That is even truer for his family, friends and loved ones who were blessed to know Jorge and to benefit from his warm, generous spirit.”

DelRio’s shooting and death has sparked a huge outpouring of support for the detective, his family and loved ones and for a police department that has had to respond to a series of traumatic and tragic events this year, including a hate group rally, devastating tornadoes, a mass shooting and other violence.

The Dayton Fraternal Order of Police started a fundraiser to help support DelRio’s family, featuring a GoFundMe page that set a goal of raising $75,000. Within just four hours, people had already made nearly $10,000 in donations.

DelRio is survived by his wife, Kathy, five daughters and three granddaughters. Another grandchild is on the way.

“We request that community members hold his family, friends, colleagues and fellow law enforcement officers in thought, prayer and heartfelt care,” Biehl said.

Law enforcement officials said DelRio was as skilled at police work as anyone who has ever worn the badge and he undoubtedly saved countless lives by busting drug dealers and confiscating powerful narcotics that would have resulted in untold numbers of fatal overdoses. He spent the last 20 years as part of a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration task force.

That was the group that went into the house where DelRio was shot as he went down into the basement. Four people were taken into custody after the shooting, and three of them are to appear in court this afternoon.

It was immediately clear on Monday night that DelRio’s injuries were life-threatening. He was hit twice in the face by gunfire.

PHOTOS: Law enforcement officers gather at hospital for injured detective

On Wednesday, Biehl announced that DelRio’s injuries were “tragically not survivable” and that his organs would be donated.

Shortly after the sun rose on Thursday, law enforcement officers from a variety of agencies across the county and region poured into Grandview Medical Center, shoulders hunched against the crisp morning air.

Many arrived in pairs, some by themselves, some by the truckload, to wish DelRio farewell.

At least two police cruisers were at the hospital all night long, as officers watched over their brother in blue. Lines of police cars were parked outside in nearly every direction.

A cold rain fell on agents and officers as they trickled out of the medical center after DelRio went into surgery.

Some agents and officers hugged, others shook hands.

Mark Williams lives adjacent to the hospital and he was moved by the outpouring of respect Thursday.

“What a tragedy and my heart goes out to that man’s family,” he said as he watched DEA officers enter the hospital.

Details about the organ donation were not immediately available, but a company spokesperson with Spirit Medical Transport LLC confirmed that they picked up donated organs Thursday at Grandview.

The spokesperson could not confirm whether they were from officer DelRio because they are not provided that information for privacy reasons. An official said Life Connection of Ohio handles tissue and organ donations.

Tina Reiter, who is on Judge Michael Krumholtz’s staff, was among a group of county staff who waited outside the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office to pay their respects as DelRio’s body was transported in a special processional.

“When you lose somebody like that from the community, especially someone who has been doing it for so long and so close to retirement, it just compounds to the tragedy. Our sympathies truly go out to his family and the rest of the police department and everyone who is affected by it, which I think is the whole community,” Reiter said.

Dayton detective shot: Community reacts, offers support on social media

Meggan Lanahan said she sees law enforcement almost every day because of her job with the county and has a great respect for them, which why she wanted to come out in her personal capacity to see DelRio’s procession.

“I just have a great respect for law enforcement and they put their lives on the line and do things most people don’t have the courage to do, so I greatly appreciate it,” Lanahan said.

A public visitation for DelRio will be held at the University of Dayton Arena from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday. His funeral will be from noon to 2 p.m. Tuesday at the arena.

In honor of DelRio, Gov. Mike DeWine ordered that U.S. and Ohio flags be flown at half-staff.

Flags will remain lowered at all public buildings and grounds in Montgomery County and the Ohio Statehouse until sunset on Tuesday.

Police officials and elected leaders from across Ohio said they were deeply saddened to learn that DelRio had paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving his community.

Four booked into jail after Dayton police officer shot, wounded

DelRio spent his life tirelessly working to safeguard the community from dangerous drug trafficking organizations and his sacrifice will never be forgotten, said Keith Martin, DEA Special Agent in Charge with the Detroit Field Division.

“To lose such an extraordinary public servant is heartbreaking,” said Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein. “Let us all honor Jorge’s work by resembling the man that he was — compassionate, dedicated and committed to family and community.”

Dayton officers killed in the line of duty

Since 1880, 25 Dayton police officers have died in the line of duty, stemming from gunfire, crashes and other causes.

Dayton detective Jorge DelRio died Thursday from injuries sustained in a raid Monday night.

Here are the officers who died in the line of duty:

• Detective Jorge DelRio, from gunfire suffered Nov. 4, 2019, who died Nov. 7, 2019

• Officer Mary Lynn Beall, Aug. 25, 2002, from gunfire sustained on May 15, 2000

• Officer Jason K. Grossnickle, gunfire, May 23, 1996

• Officer William Steven Whalen, gunfire, March 22, 1991

• Officer Eddie L. Hobson, vehicular assault, Oct. 11, 1981

• Detective Sgt. William Kenneth Mortimer, gunfire, March 4, 1974

• Patrolman Daniel Henry Bruns, gunfire, July 1, 1973

• Sgt. Paul E. Mortimer, duty-related illness, July 31, 1970

• Patrolman James Lee Mobley, gunfire, Jan. 25, 1970

• Patrolman Ronald K. Wells, gunfire (inadvertent), April 6, 1967

• Patrolman Richard Owen Baker, motorcycle crash, Nov. 5, 1965

• Patrolman Herman A. Drexler, gunfire, May 16, 1947

• Patrolman Sherman E. Nowlin, struck by train, May 3, 1947

• Detective Sgt. Lucius J. Rice, gunfire, Oct. 5, 1939

• Patrolman William Tom Wilson, gunfire, Feb. 23, 1928

• Patrolman Walter E. Rauch, gunfire, Dec. 25, 1927

• Capt. John C. Post, gunfire, Sept. 25, 1927

• Patrolman William C. Horn, gunfire, Sept. 18, 1927

• Patrolman George E. Clark, gunfire, Jan. 29, 1923

• Detective George V. Purcell, gunfire, Sept. 23, 1916

• Patrolman Charles V. Thomas, gunfire, May 21, 1916

• Patrolman John J. Stapleton, motorcycle crash, Jan. 17, 1916

• Patrolman William Dalton, animal-related, Aug. 10, 1899

• Sgt. Amer M. Keller, fire, Jan. 7, 1897

• Patrolman Lee Lynam, gunfire, Jan. 17, 1880


Services, including a public visitation, have been planned for Dayton Police detective Jorge DelRio, who died Thursday from injuries after he was shot twice Monday.

A public visitation will be held at the University of Dayton Arena from 4 to 9 p.m. Monday.

His funeral also will be held at UD Arena on Tuesday, now scheduled for noon to 2 p.m.

Thousands of law enforcement officers are expected to attend the services for the 30-year police veteran.