HALL COUNTY, Ga. (FOX 5 Atlanta) - Investigators said they have made five more arrests related to the investigation into the killing of Hall County Deputy Nicolas Blane Dixon.
The 28-year-old deputy was shot and killed in the line duty the evening of July 7 while trying to pull over a car full of suspects.
Hall County Sheriff Gerald Couch said Dixon attempted to pull over a car driven by 17-year-old Hector Garcia-Solis. After a brief pursuit, Garcia-Solis crashed the car along Jesse Jewell Parkway and Center Avenue, the sheriff said. The four occupants then scattered, running away from the pursuing deputies.
The sheriff said Dixon and another deputy caught up with Garcia-Solis on Highland Avenue near Hazel Drive, less than 1,000 feet from the crash. That’s when the sheriff said Garcia-Solis fired a single shot, striking Deputy Dixon just below his ballistic vest. The other deputy returned fire, striking the suspect several times.
Dixon was put into the patrol car of one of his colleagues and rushed to Northeast Georgia Medical Center. He was later pronounced dead.
A police K-9 was able to track the second suspect, identified as 17-year-old Brayan Omar Cruz, to a residence in the same area. Deputies said he was hiding under a house. The other two suspects, identified as London Clements and Eric Edgardo Velazquez, both 17, were later taken into custody. All four were charged with felony murder.
Investigators said they tied the teens to the Double Deuce Pawn Store burglary the day before the deadly shooting. Deputies recovered 25 of the 27 stolen firearms as well as a large cache of ammunition and two crossbows. Investigators said they discovered additional firearms and seven stolen vehicles from other crimes. Investigators said they can link the teens to at least six burglaries, two theft by taking motor vehicles, and three entering auto cases, with Garcia-Solis and Velazquez facing additional charges stemming from those cases.
The additional five suspects are connected to crimes associated with the original four arrests, investigators said. Jiovanny Castillo, 17, Antony Macias, 18, Adrian Gonzalez Verduzco, 18, Rodolfo Rodriguez Puentes, 17 and Jorge Rodriguez, 19, all of Gainesville, were charged with tampering with evidence and hindering apprehension of a criminal. Macias, Verduzco, Puentes and Rodriguez were additionally charged with theft by receiving stolen property.
Sheriff Couch released a statement Wednesday about the additional arrests:
“In the days since the line of duty death of Deputy Nicolas Blane Dixon, members of the Hall County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) team have devoted themselves to honoring our fallen colleague while at the same time continuing their law enforcement duties.
“A monumental part of those duties has been the tireless efforts of personnel with the HCSO Criminal Investigations Division (CID). Our CID members have spent a total of approximately 1,200 hours working the investigation into Dep, Dixon’s death.
“A large part of the work has centered on locating the firearms stolen during a burglary that was a precursor to the events leading to the gunshot that claimed Dep. Dixon’s life. As you may already know, a law enforcement operation today led to five additional arrests in the case. By this afternoon, nearly all of the guns had been recovered.
“This investigation was a collaborative effort. Members of the Sheriff’s Office, Gainesville Police Department and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation worked side-by-side, around the clock at times, to bring the case to this point.
“While the events of the past week have been difficult for Dep. Dixon’s family, our agency and this community, I take heart in the spirit of cooperation this multi-agency investigative team has shown in its successful work.”
The investigation continues.