A Hall County Sheriff’s Office deputy was shot and killed Sunday night while pursuing burglary suspects on foot along Jesse Jewell Parkway in Gainesville. Some of the suspects remain at large and are considered armed and dangerous.
Between 11 and 11:15 p.m. Sunday, July 7, deputies exchanged gunfire near Highland Avenue off of Jesse Jewell Parkway with several suspects of weekend burglaries, according to the Sheriff’s Office. Deputy Nicolas Blane Dixon, 28, was struck by gunfire and transported to the Northeast Georgia Medical Center, where he died.
Dixon had been a deputy with the Sheriff’s Office for three years, according to Hall County Sheriff Gerald Couch. A 2018 post from the Sheriff's Office Facebook page includes Dixon.
Couch praised Dixon’s service and courage during a Monday morning press conference. Dixon is survived by a wife and two children.
“He was an outstanding deputy,” Couch said.
Dixon is the second officer to be killed by gunfire while on duty in 2019, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
One of the suspects arrested after the shooting has been identified as Hector Garcia Solis, 19, according to Couch and the GBI. Garcia was shot multiple times by deputies. Couch said the suspects involved in the shooting are local and have connections in the area.
Garcia was also transported Northeast Georgia Medical Center. Investigators believe he is the shooter, and he is in critical condition.
The incident began when officers attempted to pull over a car suspected to have been used in several home and vehicle burglaries over the weekend, including a "large number of firearms," Couch said. The car fled, crashed and its occupants fled on foot and were pursued by deputies.
"After refusing to follow Deputy Dixon's verbal commands to show his hands, the offender disappeared briefly back behind the residence and did suddenly reappear and open fire. Deputy Dixon was struck by one round below his ballistic vest as he returned fire," Couch said.
Dixon was taken by patrol car to Northeast Georgia Medical Center, where he died. Another deputy was involved in the shooting but was uninjured. He has been placed on administrative leave, Couch said, which is routine for officer-involved shootings. The GBI is investigating the incident.
A second suspect was tracked by dogs to another residence in the area and taken into custody.
Sheriff’s Office investigators, the Gainesville Police Department, Gwinnett County Police and the Georgia State Patrol are searching for the remaining suspects. Couch did not release any further information on the suspects.
Descriptions aren’t available for the remaining suspects and it’s not clear how many fled the vehicle on Sunday. Anyone with information should contact the Sheriff’s Office at 770-533-7693.
When Denise Chamberlain, who was with her sister on Highland Avenue, woke up around 6 a.m. Monday, she saw police officers all over the neighborhood.
“I told my sister before I (went) to bed, ‘Oh my God, they started back again with the firecrackers,’” she said describing what she heard after 11 p.m. Sunday.
Around 7 a.m., sheriff's office spokesman Derreck Booth said the department and other law enforcement agencies were continuing "an active search for the remaining suspects."
"Persons of interest and other parties are in the process of being interviewed," Booth said.
Ret. Gainesville Police Department Capt. Chad White said this was the first Hall County deputy shot and killed on duty in almost a century.
William Jefferson Dorsey was dispatched to Feb. 25, 1920 to the Gainesville Mill to break up a fight.
After finding the two men on Dean Street, Dorsey attempted to arrest them.
“While he was trying to make the arrest, the other (man) there pulled a handgun out and shot him,” White previously told The Times.
Dorsey was shot in the stomach and died the next day. He was buried at Lebanon United Methodist Church in Hall County.
Both men, John Brown and Otis Darnell, were convicted of murder. Brown was sentenced to 15-20 years, while triggerman Darnell was given a life sentence.
This report has been updated from its original version. Times staff Nick Bowman contributed to this report.