An Arlington County sheriff's deputy remains in the Alexandria jail. Craig Patterson, 44, is being held on a charge of premeditated murder in connection with the shooting death of 22-year-old Julian Dawkins.
At a 15-minute court hearing, Deputy Patterson appeared via a video link. Commonwealth's Attorney Randy Sengal told the judge that witnesses heard an argument between two men on Lynhaven Drive on May 21, with one of them saying "he would be back."
Patterson lived just around the corner from the argument.
According to the prosecution, when Deputy Patterson arrived back at the scene of the altercation, he came carrying his badge, a pair of handcuffs and his service weapon.
The Commonwealth's Attorney said one shot was fired, felling Dawkins. Patterson called 911, and told responding Alexandria police that the young man had pulled a knife on him.
But the prosecutor told the judge the knife was folded up in Dawkins' pocket, and based on the severity of the wound, Dawkins could not have folded up and put away the knife after being shot.
Defense attorney Melinda Douglas appealed for the release of the deputy, citing his cooperation with police and no previous criminal record. The judge did not grant a bond, so Patterson remains in jail.
Meanwhile, hundreds of people turned out for the funeral of Julian Dawkins, some of them saying they are comforted by the fact that the deputy has now been charged with first-degree murder.
"The guy who did this, he should be locked up," exclaimed Hue Ankrah, a friend of Dawkins.
Many people in Alexandria wondered why the suspect -- a deputy from a neighboring jurisdiction -- was allowed to remain free for more than a week. Alexandria Police Chief Earl Cook said his investigators worked the case as they would any other probe.
Commonwealth's Attorney Randy Sengal was asked bluntly why the arrest took so long. This was his answer: "The decision to file the charge at the time it was filed was based on [a] continuing review of the evidence in the case up to and including information that was obtained late Wednesday night and early on Thursday morning. So, that was the point at which I asked detectives to go ahead and apply for the warrant."
Defense attorney Melinda Douglas said to the judge that more facts in this case will be presented at trial. Presumably that means Deputy Patterson believes he was acting properly, and does have a defense for the shooting.
Upon learning of the deputy's arrest, the sheriff's office in Arlington changed Patterson's employment status to unpaid leave. His police powers had already been revoked.
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