3 convicted of murder in Hall County deputy’s 2019 shooting death

Guilty verdicts were returned Thursday for three teenagers accused of murder and other charges in the 2019 slaying of a Hall County sheriff’s deputy.

The verdicts come nearly two years to the day Deputy Nicolas Blane Dixon, 28, was shot and killed as he and other Hall deputies chased a stolen car. The car crashed and four 17-year-old suspects fled on foot with the deputies still in pursuit, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported. The suspects shot at the deputies, who then returned fire.

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Dixon was hit twice, and one of the bullets pierced his stomach just below his ballistic vest, according to Hall Sheriff Gerald Couch. He was taken to Northeast Georgia Medical Center where doctors performed emergency surgery, but Dixon could not be saved. He died July 8, 2019.

During a weeklong trial, a jury heard that Hector Garcia-Solis, then 17, fired the shot that killed Dixon and was hit multiple times as deputies fired back. Garcia-Solis survived and admitted to shooting Dixon while trying to escape, Channel 2 Action News reported. His attorney told the jury Garcia-Solis did not intend “to take another human being’s life,” according to the news station.

Garcia-Solis was found guilty on all 15 counts, including murder, aggravated assault and burglary, according to Channel 2. Two others, Eric Velazquez and London Clements, were found guilty of murder as well.

A fourth 17-year-old who was arrested with the group, Brayan Omar Cruz, is also facing murder charges but will be tried later after agreeing to testify against Garcia-Solis, Velazquez and Clements, the news station reported. The details of his deal with prosecutors were not made public.

The four teenagers were part of a crew that prosecutors said committed multiple burglaries and auto thefts.

ExploreHall County deputies escort son of slain colleague to first day of school

Dixon is survived by his wife, Stephanie, and two sons, Caden and Colton. His death inspired a widespread community response, with throngs honoring Dixon at his funeral. About a month after his death, Dixon’s colleagues from the sheriff’s office escorted his eldest son to his first day of fourth grade.