Four teens behind bars after beloved Atlanta hero deputy is shot, killed while trying to protect the community

After an intense manhunt, four suspects have been arrested in connection with a Georgia deputy killed during a weekend shootout in Atlanta.

AJC reports that Hall County Sheriff’s Deputy Nicolas Dixon was killed late Sunday night in Gainesville. The 28-year-old deputy was among numerous other officers who were in pursuit of a group of teens who allegedly stole a car. Police suspected that the people in the vehicle were involved in several burglaries over the weekend, including the theft of other vehicles.

The high-speed chase ended when the stolen vehicle crashed near the downtown Gainesville Square. The suspects exited the car and fled on foot while authorities gave chase. According to Hall Sheriff Gerald Couch, one of the suspects began shooting at the officers, who in turn fired back at him.

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The alleged shooter, identified as 19-year-old Hector Garcia-Solis, reportedly hid behind a house, the re-emerged and opened fire, hitting Dixon below his ballistic vest. Authorities returned fire and shot Garcia-Solis several times. While the suspect is expected to survive, Dixon passed away from his injuries.

“It was a cheap shot,” Chris Cannon, Dixon’s cousin, told the outlet. “All for a freakin’ car.”

On Monday, authorities arrested three 17-year-old suspects, identified as Brayan Omar Cruz, London Clements and Eric Edgardo Velazquez. While Garcia-Solis is facing a felony murder charge, the other suspects are facing charges of being party to a crime of felony murder.

Meanwhile, Dixon’s family reflected on his dreams of becoming a police officer and how he worked hard to make his dreams a reality.

“About three years ago he came to me and said he wanted to follow his dream and become a police officer,” his father Fred Dixon recalled. “I always wanted my sons to do what makes them happy, so we were real supportive.”

Dixon worked as a jailer during his first year with the Hall County Police Department. He then entered the police academy, and according to Fred Dixon, his son “counted down the time” until he could start working in the field as a deputy.

Cannon added that his cousin was extremely passionate about his line of work.

“You know when you’re passionate about something and you work it into every conversation?” Cannon said. “That was Blane. You could be talking about coconuts and he’d turn it into something about his job. He loved what he did.”

Dixon is survived by a young son and his wife, Stephanie Dixon, who was pregnant with their second child.

“He was the best dad there was,” Stephanie Dixon said.

Funeral services for Dixon are scheduled at 11 a.m. Thursday at the Free Chapel Worship Center in Gainesville.

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[Feature Photo: Nicolas Dixon/Hall County SO/Gwinnett County PD via Facebook]