Police: Gunman released from jail days before shooting Hall County deputy
HALL COUNTY, Ga. (FOX 5 Atlanta) - Police say one of the suspects believed to be the gunman who shot and killed a Hall County deputy had been released from jail less than a week before the shooting.
On Tuesday, Hall County police released mugshots of the four suspects who allegedly were involved in the deadly incident that took the life of Deputy Nicolas Blane Dixon, a three-year member of the Hall County Sheriff's Office.
Shortly after 11 p.m. Sunday, officials say, Dixon spotted a car that had been reported stolen. Investigators say the four people inside were believed to have been involved in a number of thefts, with one involving a large number of firearms.
The Hall County sheriff said the driver of the car, 17-year-old Hector Garcia-Solis, refused to stop and sped away. 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.
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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 Garcia-Solis 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.
Garcia-Solis also was taken to the hospital in critical condition, but as of late Monday afternoon, the sheriff's office believes his injuries are not life-threatening.
Hall County police now say Garcia-Solis was arrested on June 27 and released on July 2, five days before the shooting. At the time he had been charged with DUI, driving with a suspended license, possession of an open container, felony obstruction of an officer, and striking a fixed object.
The other suspects, Brayan Omar Cruz, London Clements, and Eric Edgardo Velazquez, all 17, were found and taken into custody by Monday afternoon. Deputies said a K-9 officer found Cruz in a nearby home, Clements was found at his home on Cresthill Drive in Flowery Branch, and Velazquez was apprehended at a home off of U.S. 129/Cleveland Highway in north Hall County.
All four suspects face felony murder charges. Cruz, Clements, and Velazquez face party to a crime charges. The three of them were in court Tuesday afternoon and were denied bond.
RELATED: Memorial fund created for family of fallen Hall County deputy
Dixon leaves behind a wife and two sons, who are 9 years old and 3 months old. A memorial fund has been set up to benefit his family. One hundred percent of donations will go directly to his wife and kids.
Officials have organized a candlelight vigil Tuesday night for the fallen deputy. He will be laid to rest on Thursday.