Friday March 1st, 2024 7:00AM

Suspects named in shooting death of Hall County Sheriff deputy

By B.J. Williams, Mitch Clarke, Marc Eggers | Video: Joy Holmes

All four suspects in the shooting death of a Hall County Sheriff's Office deputy are in custody, sheriff's officials announced Monday afternoon.

The suspects and charges are as follows (source HCSO): 

Hector Garcia –Solis: Felony murder
Brayan Omar Cruz: Party to a crime, felony murder
London Clements: Party to a crime, felony murder
Eric Edgardo Velazquez: Party to a crime, felony murder

All of the suspects are 17-years-old. 

Nicolas Blaine Dixon, 28, a three-year veteran of the department, was shot once in his abdomen below his ballistic vest. Fellow deputies rushed him via patrol car to Northeast Georgia Medical Center where he died of his injuries.

Dixon leaves behind a wife, a 9-year-old son and a 4-month-old son, Sheriff Gerald Couch said in a news conference Monday morning.

Other deputies involved in the shootout have been placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure for officer involved shootings, Couch said. He said counseling is also available to any deputies who need it.

Couch said it has been a long time since a Hall County's deputy has been an on-duty shooting victim.  "We actually just honored a deputy...killed in the line of duty back in the 1920s...quite some time, and I was hoping while I was sheriff I would never, ever see that, but here we are today."

Sheriff's Office spokesman Derreck Booth said two deputies attempted to make a traffic stop on a stolen vehicle believed to have been used in several weekend burglaries and entering auto incidents.

Booth said the driver of the vehicle refused to stop.

"The suspect vehicle wrecked, and several suspects got out and ran. Deputies chased them on foot," Booth wrote in a press statement. "There was an exchange of gunfire in the area of Jesse Jewell Parkway and Highland Avenue between 11 and 11:15 p.m. One of the deputies was struck by gunfire and was transported to Northeast Georgia Medical Center where he died."

Couch said in an effort to save Dixon's life other officers transported him to the Medical Center themselves.  "Deputy Dixon was transported by patrol car to the Northeast Georgia Medical Center."

Hector Garcia was identified as the shooter, Couch said, adding that Garcia was from the area.  Garcia was also shot during the confrontation and is currently at the medical center. A second person was arrested on Highland Avenue about 7:30 a.m. Monday, while the remaining two suspects were arrested late in the day.

"As far as we have determined now they are local and they do have connections with various homes in this county," Couch said. He said no determination had been made as to whether or not the suspects are members of known local gangs.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has been called to take the lead in the investigation. 

Funeral services have been announced for Deputy Dixon. They are scheduled for 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, July 11, 2019 at Free Chapel Worship Center on McEver Road in Gainesville with Rev. Thomas Jordan and Rev. Beau Robson officiating.

Interment will be in Memorial Park Cemetery.

The family will receive friends at Memorial Park Funeral Home on Tuesday July 9th from 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. and on Wednesday, July 10th from 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.

This story will be updated.

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