Video in ex-officer’s double-murder trial shows him firing at fleeing car

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Dramatic video played for jurors in former police officer David Dixon’s double-murder trial shows him firing five rounds into the back of a sedan as it flees from a dark parking lot in suburban Maryland.
The footage, captured by a surveillance camera behind a high-rise condominium building at 5 a.m., is the linchpin of the case against Dixon that is underway in Montgomery County Circuit Court in the deaths of two men inside the car. In the video, Dixon, 41, can be seen standing and running through the parking lot with his gun drawn. At one point, the car briefly moves toward him. But it turns and moves away from Dixon as muzzle flashes are seen behind it.

“When you fired the first shot,” Montgomery State’s Attorney John McCarthy asked Dixon in court while freezing a frame of the video on courtroom monitors, “was the car past you?”

“In the video, it shows it,” Dixon acknowledged.

McCarthy advanced the video bit by bit and asked Dixon about four additional rounds fired as the car drove away.

“When you’re shooting,” McCarthy said, “they’re fleeing for their lives.”

The quick-moving trial began Monday and has included not only testimony from Dixon — who at the time of the encounter was an off-duty officer for the Pentagon police force — but also testimony from Michael Thomas, the driver of the Lexus sedan. He was not hit by any of the bullets but desperately drove his dying friends — Dominique Williams, 32, and James Johnson, 38 — to a hospital while on the phone with 911.

“He killed my friends!” Thomas shouted to the 911 operator, a recording of which was played in court. “Please God, please God, please God, please God ...”

Thomas, 38, also candidly told jurors why he and his two friends had gone into the dark parking lot in Takoma Park in the first place: to break into vehicles. “We were just riding around,” he told Assistant State’s Attorney George Simms, “checking to see what we could find.”

Riding in the back seat, Williams was struck by a bullet that went through the trunk of the car, into his upper back and into his right lung, according to prosecutors. Johnson was in the front passenger seat and was struck by a bullet that passed through the passenger seat into his back and through his heart, according to forensic and autopsy findings that prosecutors presented.

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