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Dixon 'awesome in every sense’ - Community holds vigil for fallen deputy
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Hall County Deputy James Yun, a member of Deputy Nicolas Blane Dixon's shift, speaks while surrounded by fellow shift members during a vigil for Dixon at the Hall County Sheriff's Office in Gainesville on Tuesday, July 9, 2019. Dixon was shot and killed Sunday night. - photo by Austin Steele

Fred Dixon said Tuesday that his son Blane was always there to protect his community and his loved ones.

“He has always been a people person. By the time he was little, 2, 3 years old, he was always trying to look out for somebody, always trying to find somebody to protect,” Fred Dixon said.

Deputy Nicolas Blane Dixon, 28, took that passion for protecting others into adulthood, joining the Hall County Sheriff’s Office three years ago. He was killed in the line of duty on Sunday while pursuing burglary suspects along Jesse Jewell Parkway in Gainesville.

Hundreds gathered outside the Sheriff’s Office headquarters Tuesday to remember Dixon at a community vigil. Residents and first responders from Hall and surrounding counties joined in prayer and song to support each other and the law enforcement community.

How to help

Hall County Sheriff’s Office has opened a fund for the Dixon family at Peach State Bank and Trust. Donations can be dropped off at 325 Washington St., Gainesville, or mailed to Peach State Bank and Trust, P.O. Box 290, Gainesville, GA 30503-9835.  Checks should be made payable to the Deputy Nicolas Blane Dixon Memorial Fund. A collection box is also available in the lobby for notes, cards and other gestures. Businesses and other organizations are also donating services and proceeds.

The idea for the vigil started on social media in the Gwinnett Backs the Blue Facebook group and then quickly spread.

Sgt. Charles Hewell, Dixon’s supervisor, said Dixon was known for his positive attitude and sense of humor.

“He was a very easy person to like. He was the type of person that, even if he didn’t know you or if you were quiet and in the shell, he would get you out of that shell and he would start joking with you in some way,” Hewell said. “… Blane gave everyone on shift an absolute trash talk, but it wasn’t a degrading trash talk. It was always something that brought us close together and something that lifted us up.”

That is also how Jailer Shantesia Soto, who worked with Dixon when he was at the Hall County Jail, remembered her coworker.

“When I was in the towers with him and he used to sit and crack jokes, he just kept me smiling and laughing and everything,” Soto said. “I just loved him from there. He was a really good guy, really good officer.”

Zachary Dixon, Dixon’s brother, said his brother was “awesome in every sense of the word,” recalling his competitiveness and golf skills. He thanked the community for supporting the Dixon family.

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Candles are covered from the wind during a vigil for Hall County Deputy Nicolas Blane Dixon at the Hall County Sheriff's Office in Gainesville on Tuesday, July 9, 2019. - photo by Austin Steele

“I met his entire shift today. Those are the men and women that had his back day in and day out,” he said. “You guys are now my brothers and sisters. … As far as the community as a whole, we really appreciate everything.”

And he said the vigil was a proper way to honor his brother.

“He would have never asked for this, but this is exactly what he deserves,” he said.

Fred Dixon said his son loved his job and his coworkers.

“All he talked about was his job. It didn’t matter what the conversation was, before it was said and done, he was talking about work,” Fred Dixon said. “He loved the guys that he worked with, loved his family.”

On Monday, Dixon’s supervisor Capt. Brad Rounds said, “He wanted to serve his community. He wanted to do the job that he loved, and it cost him his life. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was out there doing what he loved to do.”

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The bridge across Jesse Jewell Parkway in Gainesville is lit in blue lights Tuesday, July 9, 2019, night in honor of fallen Hall County Deputy Nicolas Dixon. - photo by Austin Steele

Rounds said it was like losing “one of my own kids, and I think that’s how the rest of the division feels. We lost a family member.”

Deputy James Yun, who worked with Dixon, said of his fellow officer, “I miss you already.”

“I wish I could see your smile. I wish I could get a hug from you,” Yun said.

Another coworker, Deputy Tyler Ward, recalled seeing Dixon at the hospital.

“He didn’t stop fighting, just like we all knew him as,” Ward said. “… He’s living it large up there.”

Woodrow Gaines, a Gwinnett County resident, was inspired to help out to show support for the law enforcement community, with which he works through a teen driving program he operates. He assisted with planning by arranging for a tent at the vigil.

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Gaye Summerall, left, of Dawsonville, lights Brandon Hill's candle during a vigil for Hall County Deputy Nicolas Blane Dixon at the Hall County Sheriff's Office in Gainesville on Tuesday, July 9, 2019. - photo by Austin Steele

“It’s always sad, and my heart goes out to the officers, to the family and to the community. It was the same reaction when we lost our officer in Gwinnett County last year,” Gaines said. “Society has lost respect for our law enforcement community, not only in Hall County and Gwinnett County but as a nation.”

Gwinnett County Police Officer Antwan Toney was fatally shot while on duty on Oct. 20, 2018.

For Jim Reavis of Gainesville, the vigil was also a way to show support. His son is an officer in another county.

“They need the support. They should be thanked more than they are,” Reavis said. “They’re the home front guards.”

And Matt Knight, who led the organizing efforts for the event, said he was proud of how the community had come together to show support.

“We have just had an absolute outpouring of love,” Knight said. “… I personally did not know Deputy Dixon, but my heart goes out to his family and to the law enforcement community.”