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Man Charged With Murder in Fatal Shooting of Texas Police Chief

Update: David Risner has been charged with capital murder of a police officer. He has been accused of killing Little River-Academy Police Chief Lee Dixon Thursday night in Bell County.

Dixon was shot by a shotgun on the left side of his face, said Little River-Academy Mayor Ronnie White.

White said Dixon had filled out a partial police report about a disturbance involving Risner when he went to Risner's house to interview him. The disturbance occurred when Risner was driving behind a tractor and pulled around to pass it, White said. Risner nearly struck another car head-on, White said.

The person in the other car confronted Risner and then went to Dixon's office and talked to Dixon about it, said White.

Dixon was the perfect police chief for Little River-Academy, the mayor said.

"Lee was a plain old country boy, no macho-cop deal, no walking around tough," said White. "You could make fun of him and he would make fun of you."

White, 70, has been mayor of the community since 1987. He said he has received numerous calls from residents praising Dixon since the chief was killed.

Earlier: Cheri Bolin first realized something was wrong when her daughter ran inside to tell her that she had heard a gunshot Thursday evening . Bolin called 911 and stepped outside her house in the community of Little River-Academy in Bell County to see what was happening, she said.

That's when she saw the town's police chief, Lee Dixon, lying on the front porch of her neighbor's house, she said.

"There were immense amounts of blood coming out of him," she said.

She said she also saw her neighbor, David Risner, a former police officer, standing inside and looking through his front screen door at Dixon.

About two minutes later Risner stepped outside with a phone in one hand and started administering cardio-pulmonary resuscitation to Dixon with the other hand, she said.

Bell County deputies then arrived, surrounded the house and ordered Risner to drop to his knees, she said.

Dixon, 54, died Thursday on the front porch. Risner now faces charges connected with his death. Authorities have not released any details Friday about a motive for the shooting.

Risner was a police officer in the East Texas town of Grand Saline for a few years in the early 2000s, said Grand Saline Police Chief Larry Compton on Friday. "We never had any issues with him," said Compton. He said Risner left about 2004 to work for a contractor in Iraq.

Funeral services are pending for Dixon next Thursday, said Lt. Donnie Adams of the Bell County Sheriff's Office. Dixon, who was married and has children, also has a brother who is flying in from Australia, Adams said.

Dixon had been called to Risner's house after someone had complained in person to Dixon about a disturbance involving a man with a gun, Adams said at a press conference outside Risner's house Friday afternoon.

Adams said he had no details about the disturbance.

Dixon, who had been police chief of Little-River Academy for just one month, went to Risner's house to interview him, said Adams.

Dixon, who was also the town's only police officer, called Bell County Sheriff's dispatch at 5:11 p.m. to say he was on his way to the home and that everything was OK, said Adams.

He then called for backup, but when authorities tried to get back to him they couldn't reach him. By that time 911 calls were already coming in about Dixon being shot, Adams said.

Adams said he didn't know if the video camera in Dixon's patrol car was working. He also said he didn't know how many times Dixon was shot. Police had no reason to fear Risner, Adams said.

"The neighbors said he was a nice guy and was very sociable," Adams said. Risneris married, but his wife was not home at the time of the shooting, Adams said.

Bolin said Risner had recently donated $200 to support a local softball team. She said she often saw him walking around the neighborhood with his dog.

"He was a very quiet but nice man and he always waved to me," she said

Risner always seemed to be at home in the mornings and afternoons, Bolin said.

Another neighbor, Penny Geron, said she was driving in the neighborhood Thursday afternoon when a boy ran up to her and told her to drive away because "there was a man with a gun."

Geron said as she turned around she saw a crowd of children "looking terrified" running past her.

She said that when she got to the store she heard the police chief had been shot. Geron said Dixon was a good police chief.

"He wasn't aggressive and he didn't have an attitude," she said. "He was soft-spoken but you knew you weren't gonna get away with anything."

Copyright 2014 - Austin American-Statesman

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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