Squad cars lined the road while law enforcement and first responders from all over Georgia came to Free Chapel Worship Center in Gainesville on Thursday to remember and lay to rest Nicolas Blane Dixon, a Hall County Sheriff's Deputy who was shot and killed in the line of duty on Sunday night.
Reports said hundreds turned out for the 28-year-old's funeral services Thursday. He had served in the Hall County Sheriff's Office for roughly three years. He left behind his wife, 9-year-old and 4-month-old sons.
Hall County Sheriff Gerald Couch remarked on Dixon's positive demeanor at work. Fellow deputies eulogized Dixon by recounting stories and memories of working alongside him.
Dixon's grandfather Fred Dixon Jr. spoke during his grandson's memorial service.
"(Dixon lived) long enough to be loved, but not long enough," Dixon Jr. said. "Long enough to receive the love of a mom, and dad, and wife, and children and brothers."
Others attending the service had never met Dixon. Dixon was later buried at Memorial Park Cemetery.
Police said Dixon was killed late Sunday night after spotting a car reported stolen. Officials said the four occupants were teenagers believed to be involved in a string of thefts, including one involving a large number of firearms.
After a brief pursuit, the vehicles crashed and deputies pursued the scattered suspects on foot. Dixon and a fellow deputy chased the driver, 17-year-old Hector Garcia-Solis, who fired a single shot that struck Dixon below the ballistic vest. Another deputy fired and struck Garcia-Solis multiple times.
Dixon was rushed to Northeast Georgia Medical Center in a patrol car, but was later pronounced dead.
The four suspects inside the vehicle were eventually arrested and are now facing felony murder charges. All four were 17-year-old Hall County residents.
The driver, Garcia-Solis, is expected to recover from injuries. The other three suspects charged London Alexander Clements, Eric Edgardo Velazquez and Brayan Omar Cruz.
The Hall County district attorney's office issued a statement Thursday, saying the suspects' birth certificates confirm that all four are U.S. citizens.
The Hall County DA also said the suspects will not be tried with the imposition of the death penalty, since all four are younger than 18 years old. The Official Code of Georgia provides that murdering a police officer while the officer is engaged in the performance of the officer’s official duties is a statutory aggravating circumstance that would otherwise support the imposition of the death penalty.
The Hall County DA added that more charges are anticipated for the four teenage suspects while the investigation continues. Presentation to the grand jury will be made at the appropriate time, the DA said.