Four teenagers were indicted “individually and as parties concerned in the commission” of alleged crimes including the July 8 death of Hall County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Nicolas Blane Dixon.
Hector Garcia-Solis, London Alexander Clements, Brayan Omar Cruz and Eric Edgardo Velazquez, all 17, were indicted by a Hall County grand jury Monday, Aug. 19.
The charges in the indictment pertaining to all four men include malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault on a peace officer and conspiracy to commit robbery and burglary.
The last charge alleges the four men “did meet at a specific location and travel together in a stolen vehicle and possess stolen firearms” while wearing masks, gloves, bandannas and other clothing “to conceal their identities.”
The incident that led to Dixon’s death began when officers attempted to pull over a car July 7 suspected to have been used in several home and vehicle burglaries over the weekend, including the theft of a "large number of firearms," Sheriff Gerald Couch said July 8. The car fled, crashed, and its occupants fled on foot and were pursued by deputies along Jesse Jewell Parkway in Gainesville.
A shootout ensued in the front yard of a home in the area of Highland Avenue, with Dixon and another deputy exchanging gunfire with Garcia-Solis, authorities said.
"After refusing to follow Deputy Dixon's verbal commands to show his hands, the offender disappeared briefly back behind the residence and did suddenly reappear and open fire. Deputy Dixon was struck by one round below his ballistic vest as he returned fire," Couch said.
The malice murder charge alleges the four men “did unlawfully as parties … cause the death of Deputy Nicolas Blane Dixon,” and Garcia-Solis is listed as the alleged shooter.
Two other suspects were found July 8 at residences off of Cleveland Highway in North Hall and Cresthill Drive in Flowery Branch. They were identified as, respectively, Velazquez and Clements.
The suspects have been held without bond since their arrests. The Times confirmed Tuesday that Garcia-Solis, who was wounded in the shootout, has been moved from the hospital to the jail, but exactly when was unknown.
Jason Wilson and David Hoffer, the defense attorneys for Velazquez and Garcia-Solis, respectively declined to comment.
Cruz’s attorney Lee Park did not return a request for comment.
“Given what I understand the evidence to be, indicting is one thing. Proving it is another,” Clements’ attorney Dan Sammons said.
Regarding the substance of the case, Sammons said, “The state knows one of the bedrock principles of law is being there in and of itself doesn’t make you guilty of anything.”
The indictment also lists charges concerning only Velazquez and Garcia-Solis.
Individually, Velazquez was accused of theft by receiving stolen property involving a Toyota Avalon on July 7. Garcia-Solis faces the same type of charge involving a Dodge Caliber on July 6.
Garcia-Solis and Velazquez were both named in six second-degree burglary charges all on July 6 at Los Plebes Auto Sales on Atlanta Highway, Texano Auto Sales on Industrial Boulevard, Texas Trucks and Autos on Industrial Boulevard, Eddie’s Auto Sales on Atlanta Highway, Swap and Trade Pawn on Atlanta Highway, and Double Deuce Pawn and Gun Store on Shallowford Road.
The two were also charged with allegedly entering a DeKalb County police van and attempting to commit a burglary at Foxhole Guns and Archery on Plaza Drive.
In the Foxhole incident, the two allegedly attached a rope to the entry door and to a car and drove “the car in an attempt to make unlawful entry into the building … and pulling off the door handle as a result,” according to the indictment.
Jesse Mowbray, the owner at Double Deuce Pawn, reported similar circumstances at his store.
Mowbray said tie-down straps were tied around the front door and then attached to a vehicle to pull the door open.
Law enforcement said last month they had recovered 25 of 27 stolen firearms taken from Double Deuce Pawn and Gun Store.
Police took a report July 6 regarding a DeKalb County van operated by a civilian employee who lives in Gainesville.
According to the report, police believe the suspects used a “jimmy/pry tool or device” between 11 p.m. July 5 and 6 p.m. July 6.
“During the arrest of those responsible for the crimes surrounding Deputy Dixon’s death, Hall County (sheriff’s office deputies were) able to recover the following items that were stolen from the DeKalb County Crime Scene Van,” Gainesville Police Chief Jay Parrish said Friday, July 19.
The report listed a pepper spray, camera, utility belt, baton, flashlight and two panels of a bulletproof vest as stolen.
Read the original Gainesville Times story here.