Hall County Sheriff's Office Deputy Nicolas Dixon's colleagues fill officer's shoes for his 9-year-old son

When Caden Dixon arrived for the first day of school this year, the officers with the Hall County Sheriff’s Office showed him that his father, Nicolas – a deputy who was killed a month earlier in the line of duty – will never be forgotten.

More than a dozen officers from the department outside of Atlanta gathered in August to escort the 9-year-old to class as he began fourth grade. Caden was very sad that day, Dixon’s watch commander remembers, but “us being there really turned around his morning.”

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“Even though his dad couldn’t be there for him, we were here for him,” Sgt. Charles Hewell told Fox News. “We want to try to step up and try to fill those shoes by any means… and still show them that we still care about them and they are still on our minds."

Caden Dixon, 9, is escorted to his class by the Hall County Sheriff's Office.

Caden Dixon, 9, is escorted to his class by the Hall County Sheriff's Office. (Hall County Sheriff's Office)

Nicolas Dixon was only 28 years old when he was shot July 7. The deputy, who was in the midst of his third year of service with the Hall County Sheriff’s Office, was struck while exchanging gunfire with suspects who had crashed a stolen car in Gainesville. He later died at a hospital.

Hall County Deputy Nicolas Dixon, 28, was killed in the line of duty while exchanging gunfire with suspects who had crashed a stolen car in Gainesville, Ga., police say.

Hall County Deputy Nicolas Dixon, 28, was killed in the line of duty while exchanging gunfire with suspects who had crashed a stolen car in Gainesville, Ga., police say. (Hall County Sheriff’s Office)

“From the time he was little – 2, 3 years old – he was always trying to look out for somebody,” Nicolas’s father, Fred, said at a vigil days after his son’s death.

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As an officer, Dixon was “great at tactics” and “enforcing the law,” Hewell says, but he also “had a big heart, caring for people he didn’t know.”

Hewell recounted times when Dixon ran into people who needed to get home safely after, for instance, indulging in too much to drink. Dixon would reach into his wallet and pay for those people to get taxi rides, he says, never expecting anything in return.

Dixon also was described as being fearless in his day-to-day duties as a police officer.

“He wasn’t afraid to go in the area where crime was the highest at… and do his job,” Hewell said. “Not every cop is like that. Not every cop has that drive in him.”

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Dixon is survived by his wife and two young children. Since his death, Georgia’s governor has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff at the State Capitol, his car has been decorated outside the department and a memorial fund has been set up in his honor.

“We were blessed to have him for 28 years,” Fred Dixon said at the vigil. “And, we are heartbroken. But at the same time, we feel so much love from this community."