Officer charged in death threat
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A veteran McKeesport police officer was arrested and charged yesterday with threatening the life of a prisoner and pointing a gun at him.
Theodore R. Dixon Jr., 55, was placed on administrative leave by Police Chief Joseph Pero after he surrendered to detectives. He was charged with simple assault, terroristic threats, reckless endangerment and official oppression.
The Allegheny County district attorney's office is investigating the case.
Early Saturday morning, shots were fired through Officer Dixon's living room window while his wife and child were inside the house. Though no suspects were named, Officer Dixon became convinced that the attack was related to Sakarr Bray, 30, whom Officer Dixon had arrested for aggravated assault and was awaiting arraignment at the McKeesport police station.
Officer Dixon became agitated after the shots were fired at his home, according to a criminal complaint, telling other officers that "someone was gonna die."
Upon returning to the police station, Officer Dixon pointed his service revolver into Mr. Bray's holding cell.
Mr. Bray told investigators that Officer Dixon said, "I should kill you right now. I'm going to handle this my way. I'm gonna kill you and your brother. You tell your mom I'm gonna kill both of you all."
A surveillance camera captured Officer Dixon pointing the gun into the cell and Mr. Bray backing up with his hands in the air, according to the criminal complaint.
Officer Dixon was released and ordered to stay away from the Bray family. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Monday before District Judge Eugene Riazzi, who once was a McKeesport police sergeant, serving with Officer Dixon.
Calls to Chief Pero and McKeesport Mayor Jim Brewster were not returned.
Officer Dixon, a former lieutenant who ran unsuccessfully for district judge last year against Judge Riazzi, was dismissed from the McKeesport Police Department in February 1994 for violating a protection-from-abuse order obtained by his ex-girlfriend, Paula Cauley. Later that year, after spending a few months in jail, Officer Dixon was acquitted of assault and reckless endangerment charges, though he was convicted of harassment.
He was reinstated in 1999 and later won $176,000 in back pay for unjust termination.
Officer Dixon also was accused in July 1994 of asking a fellow police officer to kill Ms. Cauley. But the district attorney dismissed those charges in April 1995 because two key witnesses could not be found.
Correction/Clarification: (Published Oct. 1, 2008) The Allegheny County district attorney's office is investigating the case of McKeesport police Officer Theodore R. Dixon Jr., who is charged with threatening the life of a prisoner and pointing a gun at him. This story as originally published Sept. 30, 2008 omitted that information.
First Published September 30, 2008 12:24 am