Off-duty deputy sheriff fatally shoots man in Alexandria

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Local,Virginia,Crime,Naomi Jagoda,Arlington,Alexandria

A 22-year-old man is dead after being shot by an off-duty Arlington County deputy sheriff in Alexandria, police officials said.

Family and friends identified the victim as Julian Dawkins, who worked for the "PBS NewsHour" program. The deputy sheriff, 44-year-old Craig Patterson, was questioned by Alexandria police but had not been charged as of late Wednesday afternoon, officials said.

The 17-year veteran deputy sheriff and Dawkins had a confrontation outside early Wednesday morning, and the deputy sheriff shot Dawkins. Police found the victim after the shooting at the corner of Evans Lane and Lynhaven Drive, which is in a residential neighborhood on the northern end of Alexandria near the Potomac Yard Center. He was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Alexandria police spokesman Jody Donaldson said.

"He was a good kid. He was. He'll be truly missed," Dawkins' mother, Gwen Pratt Miller, said of her only child.

Before the shooting, family had gathered at Dawkins' aunt's house near the scene of the incident to celebrate the news that the victim's cousin, Tierra Ruffin-Pratt, made the Washington Mystics basketball team, Pratt Miller said.

The victim's stepfather, Vincent Miller, said that Dawkins was on the phone with a female friend when he was shot. Miller said that he thinks the deputy sheriff may have retrieved a gun following the argument, and that Dawkins would not attack someone else.

"He was a kind-hearted person," Miller said.

Dawkins was a shuttle driver for "NewsHour" and had worked at the show since June 2010.

"Julian was a hard-worker and very dedicated to the 'NewsHour,' " said Linda Winslow, the show's executive producer. "We are deeply saddened by the news of Julian's death and our condolences, thoughts and prayers are with his family."

Patterson has been placed on administrative leave. The Arlington County sheriff's office is cooperating with the Alexandria police department's investigation and is also conducting its own internal investigation, officials said.

Police do not believe that the deputy and Dawkins knew each other. Both men had ties to the neighborhood where the shooting took place, Donaldson said.

njagoda@washingtonexaminer.com

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Naomi Jagoda

Staff reporter
The Washington Examiner