Police chief gunned down on road rage call

LITTLE RIVER ACADEMY, Texas (KXAN) — On Thursday, June 19, 2014, shortly after 5 p.m., Little River-Academy Police Chief Lee Dixon responded alone to the home of David Risner after reports about a man with a gun involved in a road rage incident nearby.

Dixon requested backup from the Bell County Sheriff’s Office shortly after arriving on scene. But after a brief verbal confrontation, Risner shot Dixon in the face, on the front porch of the home, before backup arrived. Other officers soon arrested Risner.

Dixon died on the front porch. He was a 17-year law enforcement veteran and died at age 53. He is survived by his wife, Mary, who is also a police officer.

“He was a good man and a quiet, reserved person, and I never saw him mad. He is one of our brothers, our brothers in blue,” said Constable Thomas Prado, Bell County Pct. 3, a friend of Chief Dixon.

“He is one of our brothers, our brothers in blue.”

Risner was a former law enforcement officer himself, having served in several East Texas departments. He was once described as a generous man who was active in his church. Later in his life, Risner worked as a civilian contractor in Iraq, teaching law enforcement techniques. His wife, Donna, told detectives his compound was bombed multiple times, and he sustained several concussions. Risner was a different man when he returned from Iraq, she said.

After Iraq, Risner began having run-ins with law enforcement. He fired a shot above a deputy’s head in one incident. Years later, he became argumentative with another officer during a traffic stop, and a search revealed an AK-47 fastened to the inside of his trunk door.

It is unclear if Dixon was aware of Risner’s previous threats against law enforcement when he responded to his home.

During his trial, experts testified Risner suffered from a traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. A jury could not agree on a death sentence and on June 15, 2016, at age 59, he received an automatic life term in prison with no possibility of parole. He is currently incarcerated in the Polunsky prison in Livingston.

This article is part of KXAN Investigates’ Fallen project. Watch it here.
Fallen examines the role mental health played leading to officers’ murders and the necessary solutions that could prevent future deaths.

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