Sister: Slain police chief was former Brownwood resident

STEVE NASH steve.nash@brownwoodbulletin.com
Lee Dixon

DeeDee Dixon-Gibbs of Brownwood said her big brother, Lee, was the rock the family could lean on.

Now Lee Dixon is gone.

Dixon was the police chief in the small Bell County town of Little River-Academy, and he was shot and killed Thursday afternoon while answering a call of a man with a gun. He was 54.

"It's a void that will never be filled," Dixon-Gibbs said.

The police chief in Little River-Academy is the only full-time officer on the force, according to media reports.

Lee Dixon grew up in the north Texas town of Olney and moved to Brownwood in 1988, his sister said. He lived here until 1996, when he moved to Temple. He has numerous family members in Brownwood including:

• Parents, Wayland and Nevelyn Dixon.

• Sister and brother-in-law, Dixon-Gibbs and her husband, Tracy.

• Aunt, Carolyn Banta and her husband, Riley.

• Uncle, Harold Dixon and his wife, Barbara.

• Numerous cousins.

A former law enforcement officer, David Risner, 57, is accused in the slaying and has been charged with capital murder, the Austin American-Statesman reported in its online edition.

Dixon-Gibbs said her brother was the oldest of three siblings. She's the youngest, at 45. Another brother, James, 50, is flying in from Australia.

She doesn't care for the photo of her brother that's been in the media. It looks like a mug shot, Dixon-Gibbs said. She emailed the Bulletin a photo she likes much better. In the photo, Lee wore a western-style hat, bow tie, black jacket and white shirt.  

The extended Dixon family has been in Brownwood since 1956, Dixon-Gibbs said. Lee moved to Brownwood when their father moved here. Lee worked in the oil fields before going into law enforcement, she said.

He worked as a Milam County sheriff's deputy and had served as Little River-Academy police chief on two previous occasions. He'd been back as police chief for about a month.

The family doesn't know much about what happened Thursday afternoon. 

The Austin American-Statesman reported in its online edition that Dixon was killed while responding to the scene of a disturbance at a home.

According to the Austin American Statesman:

At 5:11 p.m. Thursday, a person came to the city’s police department to report a disturbance. Dixon drove to the scene, letting dispatchers know that he was responding to a report of a man with a gun, the newspaper reported, citing Bell County Sheriff's Lt. Donnie Adams.

Dixon initially said he did not need back up, but minutes later requested a second officer be sent to his location. Officials tried to call Dixon back on his dispatch radio. He did not answer and soon police began receiving several 911 calls of an officer shot, the Austin American-Statesman reported.

 Dixon was shot by a shotgun on the left side of his face, the newspaper reported, citing Little River-Academy Mayor Ronnie White. 

The newspaper reported that Dixon had filled out a partial police report about a disturbance involving Risner when he went to Risner’s house to interview him. The disturbance occurred when Risner was driving behind a tractor and pulled around to pass it, the newspaper reported, quoting White. Risner nearly struck another car head-on, White told the newspaper.

The person in the other car confronted Risner and then went to Dixon’s office and talked to Dixon about it, the newspaper reported.

Dixon-Gibbs described her brother as "an extraordinary person. He has two children he thought the world of. He would do anything for anybody.

" … It's kind of ripped us apart. Lee was the oldest brother. He was supposed to be here for the rest of us. … The question everybody asks: why?"

She said her brother has a 32-year-old son who lives in Olney and a 27-year-old daughter who lives in Wichita Falls.

Dixon-Gibbs said her son, Richard Houghton, was in the Brownwood Police Department's Explorers program and is now in the Navy, stationed in the Middle East.

She said Lee Dixon had inspired her son to enter law enforcement after he leaves the Navy.

Dixon-Gibbs said Lee was in Brownwood on Father's Day, and the family gathered at a relative's home for barbecue.

As he left, she said, Lee hugged family members and "told us how much he loved us," Dixon-Gibbs said.

That was unusual for Lee. "It was as though he knew something," she said.