INDIANAPOLIS — A shooting and robbery outside a funeral home near Lafayette Road early Saturday morning, left a beloved Indianapolis businessman dead.
James Dixon III was the funeral director at Dixon Memorial Chapel & Cremation Services.
“It’s tragic. What happened to my dad is just a senseless act of violence,” said Ja’Kell Dixon.
Dixon’s youngest daughter Ja’Kell says her dad leaves behind a legacy of helping people in need.
“Of course everybody is grieving, but I want them to remember him as a teacher most importantly, because he’s changed many many lives for the better,” said Ja’Kell.
In April 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic, we highlighted Dixon’s work to organize drive-up viewings for those who had lost loved ones.
“He was a true servant. He cared about people,” said pastor Ronald Covington Sr. at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church.
Police say their covert robbery team was tracking the SUV driven by the suspects. The SUV had been stolen in a carjacking last week.
According to court records, an undercover FBI agent witnessed the robbery taking place and tried to put on his bullet proof vest to stop the crime but seconds later the shots were fired. That agent then tried to save the victim’s life.
Dixon was on the phone at the time of the robbery and that witness heard the suspects asking for his wallet.
Police claim the suspects drove away and other nearby officers cornered them a couple of blocks away.
Prosecutors claim 18-year-old Jashan Wallace-Carswell laid his gun on the ground and surrendered, while 19-year-old Stacey Fuller allegedly fired a single shot into the windshield of an unmarked police SUV before being caught.
No officers were hit by the gunfire, IMPD said.
According to police, one officer then returned fire at the suspects but did not hit either suspect.
Both suspects were then taken to Eskenazi Hospital for evaluation. They now both face charges of murder and robbery, IMPD said, although the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office will make final charging decisions.
While the criminal investigation into the initial homicide shooting is being handled by IMPD and the prosecutor’s office, a separate administrative investigation is being done by IMPD Internal Affairs as well.
The officer who fired back at the suspects has been placed on administrative leave, IMPD said, as is standard procedure after an officer-involved shooting. Body cams were activated during the incident, police said.
Additionally, the civilian-majority Use of Force Review Board will hold a mandatory hearing for the attempted use of deadly force against a person, which will happen once the criminal process is over.
IMPD sent this statement regarding the use of a tracking device on the stolen car before the shooting:
Officers know that often times stolen or carjacked vehicles change hands. The more time that goes by, the more evidence that is needed to arrest and get charges on vehicle occupants. Stopping the vehicle and detaining the occupants may not lead to the identification of the suspects and may hinder being able to identify suspects. The use of a GPS device would be done to covertly attempt to identify suspects, locate evidence of a crime and/or collect probable cause for an arrest. The end goals are to convict those involved and prevent future incidents from occurring.
Community mourns Dixon’s death
Pastor Covington is helping organize a vigil for his longtime friend this Wednesday. The vigil and news conference will be held right outside his funeral home on 1910 N. Belleview Place.
“This could have been any of us,” said Covington. “We’re tired of the senseless killing and violence.”
Many friends and family are mourning the death of James Dixon. Reverend Dr. Charles Harrison tweeted “When will this madness end that continues to disproportionately impact communities of color? My thoughts & prayers are with Mr Dixon’s family.”
Dixon’s sister told CBS4 “He is my only sibling; my big brother, my protector and the best friend a brother could be to his sister.”
Another person wrote on Facebook “Praying now for the family and friends of Mr. James D. III Dixon in his passing. Such a great Man, Friend and Funeral Director. The community has lost another great person! RIH 🙏🏾💕😢😢”