Murder Case Against Off-Duty Cop Who Shot Criminals Ends in Mistrial

On April 7, 2021, off-duty cop David Dixon saw three male individuals who he said were trying to break into vehicles. He noticed them outside his own condo in Takoma Park, Maryland and reacted swiftly.

He confronted the men to stop the crimes in progress and a shootout took place.

In the process, James Johnson and Dominique Williams were hit and later died of their injuries. The third male, Michael Thomas, brought the two to the hospital, but it was too late. Thomas survived.

Dixon Charged With Murder

Dixon was charged with second-degree murder in the incident, arguing it was self-defense and he was trying to just stop criminal activity.

The prosecution said Dixon discharging five rounds into the car as it escaped and killing Johnson and Williams proves he was acting with intentional malice, not just defensive intent.

The Williams and Johnson family lawyers say the “unjustified shooting” shows Dixon is a menace to society.

His trial had him facing up to 180 years behind bars; he was held without bond, but as of Friday, Dixon got some potentially good news with the case resulting in a mistrial.

The prosecution, however, says they are not giving up and will be retrying the murder case against the former Pentagon police officer.

Why Was a Mistrial Declared?

Dixon’s trial only lasted four days in circuit court. It included video evidence of the shootout in which he pursued the suspects and then fired on their fleeing vehicle. Dixon was working as a police officer at the Pentagon at the time, but was off duty.

The jury took around one day to come to a verdict, but their final decision was they could not reach a verdict. According to jurors who spoke anonymously, 11 out of the 12 jurors wanted to convict Dixon on two of the second-degree murder counts.

However, one juror felt that Dixon was only guilty of manslaughter and would not come around to the point of view of the majority.

The eleven others felt that involuntary manslaughter (killing without intent) was not accurate in describing what happened. They said Dixon did not appear to be afraid and seemed intent on harming the fleeing suspects.

One of the jurors who wanted him convicted of second-degree murder said Dixon was clearly the “aggressor” in the incident.

Dixon’s Defense

According to Dixon, as he got in his vehicle outside his condo to go to work around 5 a.m. on April 7, 2021, he saw a car come in he didn’t recognize with one dead headlight. It turned off and then he heard glass smashing on a nearby vehicle.

Dixon claimed he was in “fear” of losing his life as the car then peeled out right past him, which is why he opened up fire at the fleeing alleged thieves.

His lawyer says Dixon had the right to make a citizen arrest and the right to act to prevent crime. For his part, the survivor Thomas said that he and his friend were going around trying to look through cars and see what they could “find.”

The Bottom Line

Keep your eyes on the retrial. This case could lead to a lot of public pushback and protest.

This article appeared in StatesmanPost and has been published here with permission.