Applause broke out in a packed Alexandria courtroom after Judge Becky Moore ruled there is enough evidence to allow a first degree murder case against an Arlington sheriff's deputy to move forward.
Many in the courtroom were family and friends of the victim, Julian Dawkins. Police said Craig Patterson was off duty when just after midnight May 22 when he and Dawkins got into an argument in Alexandria's Lynhaven neighborhood.
Prosecutors say Patterson went home, returned with a gun, badge and handcuffs and shot the 22-year-old once in the chest, killing him. He remained on scene after the shooting.
In court Tuesday, prosecutors played the deputy's 911 call in which Patterson tells the dispatcher, "This is an off duty deputy sheriff from Arlington County calling in reference to say I may have been involved in a shooting. He pulled a knife on me and I shot him."
When the dispatcher asks, "How is the person shot doing... is he conscious?" Patterson can be heard shouting, "Sir, are you conscious?" There is only silence.
The call ended soon after. A police officer arrived shortly after and ordered Patterson to hang up. Patterson handed over his gun, again claiming self defense. But an Alexandria crime scene investigator who testified later in the hearing said the only knife found was closed, in Dawkins' pocket.
The victim's parents say listening to the 911 call was difficult.
"I truly feel like Mr. Patterson , it was premeditated, and that 911 call shows that even more to me," Dawkins' mother Gwen Pratt Miller said.
The victim's father, Curtis Dawkins told News4, "To face something like this and to hear him on the 911 call... it was like he had no remorse. Like he was just going along with the motions, the police thing to do."
Two Lynhaven neighbors testified they heard the two men arguing before the shooting. Charonda Brown said Dawkins told Patterson, "Just go ahead, go about your business," and that Patterson replied, "I'll be back."
Minutes later, Brown said she heard a single gunshot. She testified she then went to her front porch and saw Patterson on his phone and Dawkins laying in the yard.
Brown's voice broke as she recalled, "I heard [Dawkins] take a deep breath, he let it go and that was it."
Another neighbor, Reginald White, said he saw Patterson walk away after the initial argument empty-handed, only to return with a handgun at his side.
Defense attorneys tried to paint a different picture of Dawkins. They called him "highly intoxicated" with a .15 blood alcohol level. Another neighbor, Willie Sydnor, testified he saw the two men jostling one another during the initial confrontation. Sydnor heard Dawkins say, "This is my territory... don't come back 'round here. "
Sydnor testified he watched as Dawkins briefly chased Patterson down the street. Sydnor said Dawkins broke off the chase and minutes later, he too heard the deadly gunshot.
With the judge's ruling, a grand jury will next hear the case Aug. 12. Patterson has been placed on unpaid leave and has been in police custody since his arrest.
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