An off-duty Pentagon Police officer who allegedly shot two suspected burglars Wednesday in Maryland has been charged with murder, according to local authorities, and he will soon face charges in connection with another off-duty incident from last year.
David Hall Dixon told investigators he thought the victims, Dominique Williams, 32, and James Johnson, 38, were breaking into a car and tried to intervene.
In addition to second-degree murder and reckless endangerment charges, he also faces an attempted murder charge for allegedly shooting up the getaway car driven by a third person, 36-year-old Michael Thomas.
Takoma Park Police Chief Antonio DeVaul said during a news conference that although evidence suggested the victims were indeed breaking into cars, the proper response would have been to report the incident to local police.
“We absolutely encourage people not to take action if they observe criminal activity,” he said. “Be a good witness, call us, but do not take action. We want our citizens to be our eyes and ears, but not to intercede themselves.”
Takoma Park police said they do not plan to charge Thomas, the driver, with any crimes.
“You can’t shoot people for property crimes,” Montgomery County Executive March Elrich said during a news conference Thursday, according to the Washington Post. “You can’t shoot them. That’s just flat-out true. The idea that he drew his gun as opposed to pick his phone and call the local police — this should not have happened.”
Elrich also said Dixon, who worked for the Pentagon Force Protection Agency since 2019 and had been a federal officer since 2009, “had no authority in Montgomery County.”
“We are deeply saddened about the tragic incident that occurred on Wednesday morning that led to the arrest of Pentagon Police Officer David Dixon today,” PFPA Acting Director Dr. Daniel P. Walsh said in a statement Friday. “Our hearts go out to the family members of the victims and the Takoma Park community as they try to cope with this tragedy. We have and will continue to fully cooperate with the Takoma Park Police Department and the Montgomery County State Attorney’s office as they work through the case. We acknowledge that every individual is innocent until proven guilty. 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.”
He added that Dixon has been placed on administrative leave pending the results of an investigation.
Dixon was reportedly on his way to work when he saw two men whom he said he believed were trying to break into cars.
He engaged with the suspects “who failed to follow his direction,” Takoma Park Police said. The suspects attempted to flee in a vehicle at which time Dixon discharged his service weapon. Shortly after the incident, the two suspects involved both arrived at the hospital with gunshot wounds.
It’s not the only off-duty legal trouble Dixon has found himself in Friday.
Police said they will soon be filing charges in connection with a May 2020 incident after receiving new evidence.
Dixon at the time had used pepper-spray on a homeless woman who he said attacked him in the lobby of his apartment complex. Police determined she was going through a mental health crisis and took her to a hospital and no charges were filed.
But police said video given to them Friday showed Dixon at one point had also threatened her with a shotgun.
Neither he nor the woman had said anything about that detail to responding officers at the time, authorities said, and he had allegedly put it back in his apartment before they had arrived.
But the lobby surveillance video appears to show him wearing flip-flops and shorts, aiming the gun at her and forcing her out of the building.
Fox News’ Danielle Wallace and Jennifer Griffin contributed to this report.