Julian Dawkins shooting: Craig Patterson's case to go to grand jury

Patterson told 911 dispatchers that he believed the victim, Dawkins, had a knife. Photo: Alexandria Police

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WJLA) - A judge ruled Tuesday that there’s probable cause in the murder case of an Arlington County sheriff’s deputy charged with murdering a man while off duty.

A grand jury will now receive the case of Craig Patterson, who is facing a first degree murder charge in the slaying of Julian Dawkins in May in Alexandria.

During Tuesday's preliminary hearing, Patterson's phone call to a 911 dispatcher after the incident was played. In the call, Patterson is heard telling the operator, "a young man pulled a knife on me and I shot him...I am an off-duty Arlington Co sheriff's deputy."

The grand jury will meet Aug. 12.

Patterson’s lawyers say Patterson killed Dawkins in self-defense. Patterson, a 17-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, is accused of shooting Dawkins in the 100 block of Lynhaven Drive in Alexandria.

Patterson is being held without bond.

Although the reason for the argument is unknown, witnesses report hearing and seeing a scuffle on the street between Dawkins, 22, and Patterson, 44.

From inside his home, witness Willie Sydnor says he heard Dawkins say, "this is my block, this is my territory."

Charonda Brown, also inside, reports hearing Patterson say, " I'll be back,” followed by Dawkins saying, "don't come back. Go about your business."

Witnesses then saw Patterson run down the street, then run back to the scene, followed by hearing a gunshot.

Testimony in court revealed Dawkins, who died from a gunshot wound to the chest, had a blood alcohol content of .15, and was carrying a knife with a 3-inch blade in the closed position.

The parents of Dawkins left court Tuesday that the case will proceed.

"We're thankful, we're grateful to god the decision was made and it was the proper decision," says his father Curtis Dawkins.

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