In Utah’s Seventh District Court, San Juan County Sheriff Richard Eldredge was charged today with a third-degree felony count of witness retaliation and other crimes including class-A misdemeanors for reckless endangerment, officer misconduct, and obstruction of justice. He is accused of pointing an unloaded gun at another county employee.
Eldredge isn’t alone in being charged. Chief Deputy Sheriff Alan Freestone was charged with felony retaliation against a witness and misdemeanor charges of official misconduct and obstruction of justice.
Deputy Robert J. Wilcox was also charged with misdemeanor reckless endangerment, official misconduct, and obstruction of justice.
According to charging documents, Eldredge pointed an unloaded sheriff’s department assault rifle at an unidentified sheriff’s office employee who stated that they “heard the click of the trigger pull, turned around and saw Eldredge pointing the assault rifle.” Eldredge had previous confrontation with the unidentified individual.
When the incident was reported to the sheriff’s office, Eldredge handed the investigation to Freestone instead of an outside agency. According to court documents, “Freestone, to protect the sheriff, did not conduct a proper investigation.”
When the investigation was taken over by the state attorney general’s office in May 2016, both Eldredge and Wilcox provided false information. Later charges state that Eldredge first put the unnamed sheriff’s office employee on administrative leave in January 2017. One month later, the individual was fired.
The San Juan County Sheriff’s Office released the following statement:
“We intend to fully cooperate with the Attorney General’s continued investigation. We have confidence that the justice system will provide transparency on all sides. We will continue to communicate with the public as more information becomes available.”