• October 24, 2014

Questions linger in chief’s death

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Posted: Wednesday, June 25, 2014 4:30 am

TEMPLE — More questions than answers remain about the shooting death of Little River-Academy Police Chief Lee Dixon, 53, killed by two gunshots fired from a shotgun Thursday, allegedly by David Gene Risner, 56.

Dixon, who had been Little River-Academy’s police chief about a decade ago, returned to the position just a month before his death, Mayor Ronnie White said. Before that, Dixon was a deputy with Milam County Sheriff’s Office for eight years.

District Attorney Henry Garza said Tuesday there is no additional update because the agencies are continuing to complete the necessary investigation in connection with the case.

“Upon completion of this investigation, the case will be submitted to the Bell County grand jury for consideration,” Garza said.

Bell County Justice of the Peace Ted Duffield confirmed Tuesday that autopsy results showed Dixon died from a gunshot wound to his head but was shot twice by a shotgun.

“I do not know if Chief Dixon was wearing a bulletproof vest or not,” Adams said Monday.

Adams also said last week that he didn’t know if Dixon had fired his gun.

Garza would not comment on whether or not Dixon was wearing a vest.

“Matters concerning the specifics of the case under investigation are not appropriate for release at this time,” Garza said. “Prosecutors’ offices are required to restrict comment in matters that are currently under investigation or in which charges are pending.”

As Little River-Academy recovers from the shooting, the Bell County Sheriff’s Department is providing law-enforcement services for the city.

In addition to Dixon, the city’s reserve officer, Michael Lugo, also was providing coverage to the community, Little River-Academy volunteer fire chief David Borders said.

Risner called 911 the day of the shooting and said he shot a police officer at his home on Allison Drive, according to the arrest affidavit. Dixon was shot on the front porch of the residence just after 5:10 p.m. when he went to talk to Risner about a complaint made against him for a reported case of road rage.

Risner reportedly pulled the gun on other people earlier that afternoon in another location after a verbal altercation, Adams said.

Risner was charged Friday afternoon with capital murder, according to Bell County Jail records.

Risner has a previous history of trouble with the law.

He was arrested Dec. 11 by the Temple Police Department for failure to identify and resisting arrest.

He was released from Bell County Jail later that same day on a $5,000 bond.

A December 2008 arrest showed up on his record for deadly conduct-discharge of a firearm, but no further information was available Tuesday.

Risner was employed in law enforcement for almost 19 years, with more than 17 of those years as a police officer, according to his personnel records from the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement.

Risner’s records reveal that holds were placed on Risner’s peace officer and jailer licenses on May 15, 2012.

Commission spokeswoman Laura Le Blanc said the commission must have received a report of an alleged arrest, charge, indictment or violation of the organization’s rules, leading the commission to put a hold on his licensing, even though Risner didn’t have an active or valid license at that time.

“Maybe it was a lack of continued training,” Le Blanc said.

The last law enforcement classes Risner took were in April 2003, according to TCOLE records.

“If Risner had ever wanted back in law enforcement he would have had questions to answer first,” Le Blanc said.

Risner’s last stint as a police officer was with Grand Saline Police Department from Sept. 17, 1997, to Oct. 30, 2005.

Grand Saline Police Chief Larry Compton said Risner worked full time for his department for two years, but was an unpaid reserve officer the remainder of the time.

“He was a good employee, did an adequate job and never gave us any problems,” Compton said. “He quit to take a better paying job overseas. He wasn’t terminated.”

Risner served brief stints as a police officer in Wills Point, Edgewood and Gun Barrel City, but those departments couldn’t provide explanations Tuesday for the short periods of employment.

The administrative assistant for Wills Points Police Chief Scott Johnson said that despite searching for records from that time period, none had yet been located, and no one from 1988 still worked for the department.

Police Chief Henry Dearing with Edgewood Police Department said no personnel records can be located for Risner because many records of officers from that period of time are missing.

“When I heard about this I didn’t know he used to work here,” Dearing said.

The investigation is being conducted by Bell County Sheriff’s Department along with the Texas Rangers, the Department of Public Safety and FBI, Adams said.

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