An Arlington County, Va. Sheriff’s Deputy has been arrested for allegedly shooting an Alexandria man following an off-duty argument.
Craig Patterson, 44, of Fredericksburg, Va. faces charges of first-degree murder and using a handgun in the commission of a felony, according to The Alexandria Times. He is being held without bond following an arraignment May 31.
Patterson and another man, Julian Dawkins, 22, allegedly got into an argument during the overnight hours of May 22 at the Alexandria home Dawkins shared with his aunt, according to the Times. Prosecutors said Patterson at one point left the scene of the argument, telling Dawkins “I’ll be back,” and returned with his service gun, badge and handcuffs, Washington, D.C. CBS affiliate WUSA reported.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Randy Sengel said Patterson briefly chased Dawkins before shooting him in a nearby yard. Patterson, a 17-year veteran of the Arlington County Sheriff’s Department, told police Dawkins had threatened him with a knife; Sengel said investigators found the knife folded up in Dawkins’ pants pocket.
“I feel like justice has been served,” Dawkins' mother, Gwen Pratt Miller, told Washington D.C. ABC affiliate WJLA following Patterson’s arrest. “I’m glad the arrest was made, but that still doesn’t take away the fact that my only son is no longer here.”
The arrest came two days after Dawkins’ loved ones took their message to the streets in a protest on May 28.
“Every 28 hours, a Black person is killed by a police,” read a large, hand-printed sign carried by Dawkins’ friends, as they staged a rally in front of the courthouse in Alexandria. “Enuff is enuff!”
While his parents skipped the rally, Dawkins’ friends said they rallied to demand action in the case. Dawkins was a graduate of T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria and had been working as a shuttle driver for PBS’s “NewsHour” program since June 2010. Dawkins was shot and killed shortly leaving a celebration for his cousin, Tierra Ruffin-Pratt, who was recently signed by the WNBA.
Prior to Patterson’s arrest, the Arlington County Sheriff’s Department declined to discuss details of the case.
“We’ve never been through this as a department,” said agency spokeswoman Major Susie Doyel. “It’s a case by case kind of thing. We have to see how the investigation unfolds.”
Near the spot where Dawkins died, at the intersection of Lynhaven Drive and Evans Lane, a makeshift memorial has been erected in his memory. There are notes, stuffed animals and a picture of him. A funeral for Dawkins was scheduled for May 31.
Ruffin-Pratt is not the only publicly-known relative of Dawkins. His great uncle, Nolan Dawkins, was Alexandria’s first African-American Circuit Court judge.