• November 24, 2014

Suspect in local police chief’s death faces capital murder charge

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Posted: Saturday, June 21, 2014 4:30 am

BELTON — A former police officer is facing a capital murder charge after Little River-Academy Police Chief Lee Dixon was shot and killed Thursday.

David Gene Risner, 56, of Little River-Academy, was charged Friday in Dixon’s death and will be held in Bell County Jail without bond, Sheriff Eddy Lange said. If convicted of capital murder of a peace officer or fireman, Risner could face the death penalty.

Dixon was shot twice with a shotgun. Risner admitted he shot Dixon on his front porch, according to the arrest affidavit.

Risner was in law enforcement for almost 19 years, according to personnel records obtained from the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement. His last law enforcement job ended in 2005 after eight years as a police officer with Grand Saline Police Department in East Texas. He also spent brief periods of time with the Gun Barrel City, Edgewood and Willis Point police departments.

Risner was arrested Dec. 11 by Temple police for failure to identify and resisting arrest. He was released from the Bell County Jail later that 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 details were available Friday.

Investigators were reviewing the crime scene on Allison Drive on Friday morning, said Bell County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Lt. Donnie Adams.

Dixon was police chief in Little River-Academy from 2004 to 2005 before going to the Milam County Sheriff’s Office as a deputy. He returned to Little River-Academy a month ago.

On Friday, Adams provided a sketchy outline of how events unfolded Thursday, saying there had been an earlier disturbance somewhere and Risner allegedly pulled a gun on some people who met Dixon at the police department to sign a complaint. Dixon then went out to talk to Risner, Adams said.

Dixon was at Risner’s home to speak with him when the shooting happened after 5:10 p.m. Dixon first reported by radio that he didn’t need assistance, but soon came back on to ask for help. Just after that call, the switchboard started lighting up with 911 calls reporting a shooting, and Dixon couldn’t be reached on his radio, Adams said.

Dixon was shot on the front porch of the residence. Adams didn’t know if Dixon fired his gun or if Dixon’s police car was equipped with a dash camera.

Bell County Constable Thomas Prado arrested Risner on the scene Thursday.

“We went in and took care of business like we’re supposed to,” Prado said. “Law enforcement goes places no one wants to go. We don’t run away. Instead, we run to the call. The sheriff’s department, Texas Rangers, Temple Police Department, Harker Heights chief — everyone out there all supported each other. We’re one big family.”

When asked if Dixon should have taken someone with him to investigate the claim, Adams said, “Of course, it’s ideal to take extra officers with you, but in reality, we’re spread thin. ... You work with the resources you have.”

Texas Rangers, the Department of Public Safety and the FBI are helping the sheriff’s department investigate, Adams said.

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