FOR REASONS that are unknown, in circumstances that remain murky, a young man was shot and killed in Alexandria the other night by an off-duty Arlington County sheriff’s deputy. Based on the results of an autopsy, the shooting of Julian Dawkins, a 22-year-old shuttle driver for PBS’s “NewsHour” program, was ruled a homicide. But the deputy, Craig Patterson, was neither arrested nor charged. Why?
Police and prosecutors say they are loath to release information in an ongoing investigation; they are reluctant to prejudice the outcome of the case by discussing it in the media.
But the skeletal facts that are known about Mr. Dawkins’s death early Wednesday demand an explanation. Residents of Alexandria, where there has been just one other homicide in the last year and a half, are within their rights to expect timely answers.
According to a person familiar with the investigation, Mr. Patterson said he acted in self-defense, shooting Mr. Dawkins once in the chest, after Mr. Dawkins threatened him with a knife. Police did recover a knife on the scene from Mr. Dawkins, this person said. Mr. Patterson called police after the shooting and remained on the scene to be questioned once officers arrived.