2003-03-06 / Top Stories

DA Pursues Weapons Charge Against Canarsie Homeowner

By Neil S. Friedman

By Neil S. Friedman

Kings County District Attorney Charles Hynes is remaining steadfast on his tough stance concerning the state’s strict gun laws as he filed an 18-page memo last week in Brooklyn Criminal Court, stating he would not drop a misdemeanor weapons charge against a Canarsie homeowner who has gained compassion for his circumstance.

Hynes told the Daily News last week that he is pursuing the matter because gun licensing laws must be "equally and consistently" imposed in Brooklyn, which reportedly had almost 500 shootings last year.

Hynes is compassionate about Ronald Dixon, 27, a Navy veteran and computer specialist, who lives on Schenck Street, recently telling the News, "Clearly, he was justified," but also stands by his persistent position, "If you get caught with a gun in Brooklyn, you’re going to do jail time. At the very least, you’re going to do some weekends, but no one is going to get a bye."

Brooklyn prosecutors are charging Dixon, who lives with his wife and son, with fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, which carries a maximum one-year sentence if convicted. A spokesperson for the DA’s office said Dixon is scheduled to appear at a pre-trial hearing next Tuesday.

Several weeks ago the DA’s office said they would consider a plea bargain for two weekends of incarceration on Rikers Island, but the offer was never presented after Dixon’s lawyer said his client would not plead guilty because it would give the respectable man a criminal record.

Dixon, a Jamaican immigrant, allegedly shot and critically wounded an intruder with an unlicensed .9mm Ruger semiautomatic pistol when he discovered the man ransacking his son’s bedroom last December.

According to police reports, Dixon’s son was asleep in another part of the house when Dixon confronted the alleged prowler, later identified as Ivan Thompson, a 40-year-old career criminal on parole, who apparently lunged at the homeowner when he was shot twice. The unarmed suspect fled the house but collapsed outside where police took him into custody and charged him with burglary and criminal trespass. Thompson is currently jailed on Rikers Island.

Dixon told authorities that he purchased the gun in Florida and tried to register it when he moved to New York, but Hynes said there is no record of any paperwork.

"There is no evidence that (Dixon) legally purchased his gun and he may have violated federal laws by transporting the weapon to New York," Hynes wrote in the memo.

Despite Dixon’s contention that he would like to put the matter behind him, he has appeared on several talk shows and is scheduled for an upcoming segment on ABC’s "20/20."

At a recent local civic association meeting where Dixon was the special guest, he thanked the community for its support, telling the sympathetic listeners, "This guy came off the street and into my home. It was an instinctive moment. I told the perpetrator, ‘I am not going to die today.’"

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