Five Gainesville teens believed to be connected to last week's fatal shooting of 28-year-old Hall County Sheriff's Office Deputy Nicolas Blane Dixon have been arrested, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced Wednesday.
Jiovanny Castillo, 17, Antony Macias, 18, Adrian Gonzalez Verduzco, 18, Rodolfo Rodriguez Puentes, 17 and Jorge Rodriguez, 19, were charged with tampering with evidence and hindering the apprehension of a criminal in connection with Dixon's July 7 death. Macias, Verduzco, Puentes and Rodriguez were also charged with theft by receiving stolen property, the GBI said.
According to the GBI, Dixon was shot shortly after 11 p.m. on July 7 after spotting a car that had been reported stolen. The car's four occupants, all of whom are 17 years old, were believed to be involved in a string of thefts, including one at the Double Deuce Pawn Store on July 6.
After leading Dixon on a brief chase, the teens fled the car on foot, though Dixon and another deputy made contact with the driver, 17-year-old Hector Garcia-Solis, who fired a single shot that hit Dixon. Another deputy returned fire and hit Garcia-Solis multiple times.
Dixon was rushed to Northeast Georgia Medical Center in a patrol car, but was later pronounced dead.
Following Dixon's murder, the four occupants of the fleeing vehicle — Garcia-Solis, Brayan Cruz, Eric Velazquez and London Clements — were arrested and charged with felony murder.
In the week-and-a-half since the shooting, the GBI, the Hall County Sheriff’s Office and the Gainesville Police Department have worked "tirelessly" to locate the weapons and other property stolen during the Double Deuce Pawn Store burglary, the GBI said.
Of the 27 firearms stolen during that burglary, 25 have been recovered, as well as a "large cache" of ammunition and two crossbows.
"Additional crimes were identified as having been done by this group," GBI spokeswoman Nelly Miles said. "As a result of the joint investigation, an additional firearm and seven stolen vehicles have been recovered. In total, six burglaries, two theft by taking motor vehicles and three entering auto cases have been solved. Solis and Velazquez will face additional charges related to the burglaries, theft of motor vehicles and entering autos."
Hall County Sheriff Gerald Couch commended the inter-agency collaboration in the wake of Dixon's death.
"While the events of the past week have been difficult for Deputy Dixon’s family, our agency and this community, I take heart in the spirit of cooperation this multi-agency investigative team has shown in its successful work," Couch said.