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Pentagon police officer charged in shooting deaths in Maryland

A Pentagon police officer was charged with two counts of second-degree murder Friday in the shooting deaths of two men in Maryland this week, authorities said.

Officer David Hall Dixon was off-duty at the time of the shooting. He was taken into custody Friday morning without incident, Takoma Park police said.

Dixon faces two counts of second-degree murder, two counts of use of a handgun in commission of a felony, and reckless endangerment in connection with the shooting deaths of Dominique Williams, 32, of Hyattsville, and James Lionel Johnson, 38, of District Heights.

He also faces attempted second-degree murder and use of a handgun in commission of a felony “in the assault on Michael Thomas,” who was the driver of the vehicle the officer shot into.

Dixon is being held without bond until a preliminary hearing Monday, Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy told reporters.

CNN is trying to reach representatives for Dixon.

Authorities say the incident took place at about 5 a.m. Wednesday in the parking lot of a condominium complex. The officer believed a car was being broken into and shot two people when they allegedly tried to flee in a vehicle, police said.

Dixon told police officers who responded to the shooting that he saw one of the three men breaking a vehicle window, according to an application for statement of charge obtained by CNN.

Dixon “reported that he confronted the subjects” who were in a different vehicle, “and the vehicle ‘gassed it’, and almost tried to run him over and he fired several shots. A preliminary investigation confirmed that a vehicle was broken into,” the document said.

The driver of the car Dixon allegedly shot into drove to a Prince George’s County hospital, where hospital staff determined that the two passengers, Williams and Johnson, were dead, according to the document.

Investigators found “inconsistencies” in Dixon’s description of what happened in reviewing surveillance video and other evidence, according to the document.

The investigation showed that Dixon “fired his weapon multiple times after the vehicle passed him and no longer presented an immediate threat that would have justified the use of deadly force,” the document stated.

An examination of the car found multiple bullet holes in the rear of the car, according to the document.

An autopsy found that the location of the gunshot wounds on Williams and Johnson “is consistent with them being fired upon from behind,” according to the document.

Police confirmed that the victims and the third person involved “were actually breaking into vehicles,” Takoma Park Police Chief Antonio DeVaul said at a news briefing Friday, noting though that Dixon was not acting in any law enforcement capacity when he allegedly fired on the men.

“He was a civilian, who acted as a civilian, who happened to be a law enforcement officer in another jurisdiction,” DeVaul said.

CNN reported Thursday that according to a Pentagon spokesperson, the officer — whom Takoma Police now identify as Dixon — has been with the agency since 2019, and had been a federal police officer since 2009, and was a military police officer in the US Army before that.

Pentagon spokesperson Sue Gough earlier said that the police officer had been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, per standard policy. And that the “PFPA (Pentagon Force Protection Agency) will be conducting an internal administrative investigation.”

A statement from Daniel P. Walsh, the PFPA’s acting director, said the agency was “deeply saddened about the tragic incident” that led to Dixon’s arrest.

“We acknowledge that every individual is innocent until proven guilty,” the statement said. “Understanding the seriousness of the situation and their responsibilities, we are conducting a stand-down with our officers to ensure they have a full understanding of their off duty responsibilities, and review our use of force policy and jurisdictional considerations.”

Pentagon spokesperson Sue Gough noted that PFPA officers are permitted to take their duty weapons home, and cited a PFPA regulation that says that they generally are only permitted to serve in a law enforcement capacity off-duty “when violence is being committed or immediately threatened.”

The Takoma Park Police Department and the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office are investigating the incident.

CNN was unable to immediately contact the families of Johnson or Williams.

Article Topic Follows: National-World

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