HALL COUNTY, Ga. (FOX 5 Atlanta) - Hundreds of people filled a Gainesville church Thursday to honor fallen Hall County Deputy Nicolas Blane Dixon.
The 28-year-old deputy was killed in a gunfight as he chased teenage burglary suspects Sunday night.
Outside of the Free Chapel Worship Center, patrol cars lined the street as far as the eye could see as law enforcement officers from all over the state came to pay their respects.
Deputy Dixon served with the Hall County Sheriff's Office for three years, but his supervisor said the way he interacted with the community and the way he inspired his coworkers showed experience far beyond those three years.
Hall County Sheriff Gerald Couch fondly remembered Dixon as a man who walked into work with a huge smile. Fellow deputies also shared stories and fond memories of Dixon.
After the service, Dixon was being laid to rest at Memorial Park Cemetery.
At around 11:09 p.m. Sunday, Deputy Dixon spotted a car which was reported stolen. The Hall County sheriff said the four people inside were believed to have been involved in a number of thefts, with one involving a large number of firearms. The sheriff said the driver of the car, 17-year-old Hector Garcia-Solis, refused to stop, speeding away. After a brief pursuit, Garcia-Solis wrecked the car along Jesse Jewell Parkway and Center Avenue, the sheriff said. The four occupants then scattered, running away from the pursuing deputies.
Deputy Dixon and another deputy caught up with Garcia-Solis on Highland Avenue near Hazel Drive, less than a 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 was able to return fire, striking the suspect multiple times.
Deputy Dixon was put into the patrol car of one of his colleagues and rushed to Northeast Georgia Medical Center. He was later pronounced dead.
The four suspects inside the vehicle were eventually arrested and are now facing felony murder charges.
Dixon leaves behind a wife, a 9-year-old son and a 4-month-old son.
Hundreds from the community came out to honor and remember Deputy Dixon Wednesday evening. Some knew him, most had never met him.
Deputy Dixon's family was overwhelmed by the support.
"We were blessed to have him for 28 years. We are heartbroken, but at the same time we feel so much love from this community," said Dixon's father, Freddy Dixon.