It was a somber gathering Sunday as Little River Academy Police Chief Lee Dixon was shot and killed almost three years ago.
The community continues to honor his memory every year and on Sunday, Little River-Academy held a memorial service with some special guests.
Dixon’s sister, father and cousins all traveled to Little River to see the service, making a difficult weekend just a little bit easier. Local first responders first raised a police memorial flag over the Little River Academy Volunteer Fire Department and then lowered the flag to half mast. The community then joined together inside to share stories about Dixon.
Dixon’s sister, DeeDee Dixon Gibbs said Lee was her big brother, her protector, her confidant and her best friend.
Gibbs is still dealing with grief and anger from losing her older brother -- the man who had always kept the family safe and was loved by everyone.
“I didn’t think my world could get any better because my brother and my husband were best friends and they always did things together,” she said. “We were all part of that.”
Chief Dixon was shot and killed on June 18, 2014, by David Risner after responding to Risner’s residence for a road rage complaint. Fire Chief David Borders still remembers the day vividly.
“I arrive there. I had to see for myself. Make sure it was Lee. Part of me really wishes I hadn’t,” Borders said.
Risner would be sentenced to life without parole. While Dixon’s friends and family can’t erase the painful memories, days like Sunday help create new ones.
“It really fills my heart with love that this community loved Lee that much to keep doing this,” Gibbs said. “They are never going to let the memory die.”
Dixon’s father, Wayland Dixon, said Lee loved Little River Academy and the family is proud of the fire department for holding the service.
For Borders, and others in Little River, things have never felt as safe since Dixon passed. However, the flag will always fly in June to honor his service and friends will always gather to celebrate his memory.
“This photo right here is my favorite because of that grin,” Borders said. “That grin he always had.”