2021 | Courts

UPDATED: Pentagon officer who fatally shot two in Takoma Park is indicted

Charges include murder, attempted murder

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This story was updated at 4:17 p.m. on April 30, 2021, to include additional information

An off-duty Pentagon officer who shot and killed two men in Takoma Park this month was indicted on charges of murder and attempted murder Thursday afternoon, the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office announced on Friday.

David Hall Dixon, 40, of Takoma Park, is accused of killing 32-year-old Dominique Williams, of Hyattsville, and James Lionel Johnson, 38, of District Heights in the parking lot of the Takoma Overlook Condominiums at 7333 New Hampshire Ave.

Takoma Park police have said Dixon told them that he saw some people in a Lexus that day and that someone tried to break into another vehicle. Dixon told police that when he confronted the group, the driver of the Lexus tried to run him over and he fired multiple shots.

Police have said that the surveillance video from the parking lot shows Dixon firing multiple rounds from behind the Lexus as it was leaving. Charging documents state that the situation “no longer presented an immediate threat that would have justified the use of deadly force.”

Michael Thomas, 36, of Washington, D.C., drove Williams and Johnson to a hospital, where they died. Thomas survived and later fled from the hospital. Police have said he will not be charged.

On Thursday, a Montgomery County grand jury indicted him two counts of murder, one count of attempted murder, one count of first-degree assault and three counts of use of a handgun in the commission of a violent crime.

Those charges are all related to the shooting this month, State’s Attorney John McCarthy told reporters on Friday.

Separately, Dixon was indicted on one count each of first- and second-degree assault on Thursday, stemming from a May 2020 altercation in the same apartment building. Video shows Dixon pointing a shotgun at a woman in the lobby, according to charging documents.

Dixon had not told officers at the time that he pointed a shotgun at the woman. The video surfaced in the days after this month’s shooting. Dixon also pepper-sprayed the woman, according to the indictment.

D.C. police have said Dixon was also involved in another altercation in July 2020, when a man who was holding a hatchet threatened to kill the officer. Dixon then pulled out his service weapon and pointed it at the man, police said. Dixon has not been charged in that incident.

A scheduling hearing for Dixon has been set for May 7, according to state court records.

McCarthy said on Friday that he wasn’t sure how long it would be until a trial because the COVID-19 pandemic has created a backlog of cases. Jury trials resumed this week.

“Normally, I will say, cases like this get set for trial about 120 days after indictment. I don’t know what COVID does [in terms of scheduling],” he said.

Dixon’s attorneys, Michael Lawlor and William Brennan, could not immediately be reached for comment on Friday.

The State’s Attorney’s Office last pursued criminal charges against a law enforcement officer in July 2019. That was when a video surfaced on social media of Montgomery County officer Kevin Moris kneeing a 19-year-old man in the back of his head and neck during an arrest.

Moris was charged with assault and misconduct following the incident, and a jury convicted him on the assault charge following a trial in December 2019.

In August 2020, Judge Nelson Rupp sentenced Moris to two years’ supervised probation.

After Moris appealed the sentence, Rupp granted him probation before judgment in March, which vacates the assault conviction once he completes the terms of his probation. The police department has said Moris will remain an officer.

Dan Schere can be reached at daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com