GAINESVILLE, Georgia -- The Hall County sheriff’s deputy killed in a shootout late Sunday night has been identified as 28-year-old Nicolas Dixon.
Dixon was married with two sons, one an infant and the other 9 years old, Sheriff Gerald Crouch told reporters at a news conference. He had been with the department for three years. launching his law enforcement career at the Hall County jail before attending the police academy, Crouch said.
The shooting took place at about 11 p.m. after deputies, on alert after a rash of weekend car break-ins, encountered a car with several stolen guns.
The suspects fled in the vehicle but they wrecked. Several people jumped out and started running, prompting a foot chase.
“He was out there in the darkness while most of us slept comfortably,” Crouch said of Dixon.
Crouch said Hector Garcia has been charged with felony murder. Believed to be Dixon’s shooter, Garcia was shot several times in the torso and head, Crouch said.
A second suspect was apprehended by a K9 unit around 7:30 a.m. hiding behind a house in the area near the crash, authorities said.
There is an active manhunt Monday for the remaining two suspects, who authorities consider to be armed and dangerous. Gainesville police, Gwinnett County police and Georgia State Patrol troopers are joining in the search.
“I’m with hopeful the information we have now we’ll be able to locate them,” Crouch said.
Deputies exchanged gunfire with the suspects in the area of Jesse Jewell Parkway and Highland Avenue in Gainesville, according to the sheriff’s office.
A description of the suspects was not available Monday morning. Sheriff’s investigators are working to interview persons of interest and other parties.
The GBI has been called to investigate, which Hall County Sherrif’s Department spokesman Derreck Booth said is standard procedure in the event of an officer-involved shooting.
The deadly incident is the 42nd officer-involved shooting the GBI has investigated in 2019, a spokeswoman for the agency said. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution also tracks officer-involved shootings that don't involve the GBI, and those numbers sometimes differ from the GBI's tally.
The slain Hall County sheriff’s deputy is the fourth officer killed in the line of duty in Georgia this year, records show.
Glascock County sheriff’s Deputy Joshua Ryer Jr., 19, of Gibson, was killed Jan. 29 in a two-vehicle crash while on the way to pick up an inmate, the Georgia State Patrol said. He had only graduated from the police training program at Augusta Technical College about six months before his death, according to Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council records.
Forsyth County Deputy Sheriff Spencer Englett, 29, died April 4 after suffering a “traumatic medical event” during a training exercise, authorities said. It was his first day of training at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center in Pickens County, Sheriff Ron Freeman said at the time. It’s unclear what the “traumatic medical event” was that led to his death.
And Savannah police Sgt. Kelvin Ansari, 50, was shot and killed May 11 when he and another officer were ambushed by a robbery suspect. He was an Army vet and a father of four.
By this point in 2018, two Georgia officers had died in the line of the duty. The final tally by the end of last year was six.
Anyone with information on Sunday night’s incident is asked to call the Hall County Sheriff’s Office tip line at 770-533-7693.
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