The Hall County sheriff’s deputy killed in a shootout late Sunday night has been identified as Nicolas Dixon.
Dixon has been with the department for three years, Sheriff Gerald Couch told reporters at a news conference. The 28-year-old was married and had two young children, Couch said.
The shooting took place at about 11 p.m. after an encounter with several suspects linked to weekend car break-ins and burglaries. Several firearms were taken in the break-ins,
The suspects fled in a vehicle that wrecked. Several people jumped out and started running, prompting a foot chase.
“He was out there in the darkness while most of us slept comfortably,” Couch said of Dixon.
Couch said that an arrest warrant for felony murder has been issued for Hector Garcia., who was wounded in the shooting. He is believed to be the shooter, Couch said.
There is an active manhunt Monday for the remaining suspects, who authorities consider to be armed and dangerous. Gainesville police, Gwinnett County police and Georgia State Patrol troopers are joining in the search.
Deputies exchanged gunfire with the suspects in the area of Jesse Jewell Parkway and Highland Avenue in Gainesville, according to the sheriff’s office.
A description of the suspects was not available Monday morning. Sheriff’s investigators are working to interview persons of interest and other parties.
One person was put in handcuffs around 7:30 a.m., but authorities have not identified him or said what connection, if any, he has to the deadly shooting.
The GBI has been called to investigate, which Hall County Sherrif’s Department spokesman Derreck Booth said is standard sheriff’s office procedure in the event of an officer-involved shooting. Agents are on the scene and have blocked off one block of Highland Avenue, a narrow residential street in central Gainesville.
The deadly incident is the 42nd officer-involved shooting the GBI has investigated in 2019, a spokeswoman for the agency said. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution also tracks officer-involved shootings that don't involve the GBI, and those numbers sometimes differ from the GBI's tally.
The slain Hall County sheriff’s deputy is the fourth officer killed in the line of duty in Georgia this year.