Murder trial of Va. sheriff’s deputy goes to grand jury

Curtis Dawkins, the victim\'s father, speaks to reporters following the preliminary hearing. He says no words can explain the loss of his son, Julian. (WTOP/Andrew Mollenbeck)

ALEXANDRIA, Va — The murder case against an Arlington County Sheriff’s deputy will go to a grand jury.

At a preliminary hearing on Tuesday, a judge found probable cause in the first-degree murder charge against Craig Patterson.

Patterson was not on duty at the time he shot Julian Dawkins. His lawyers say he fired only after Dawkins pulled a knife on him.

Patterson’s 911 call made after the May 22 shooting was part of the preliminary hearing.

“Reliving the whole situation — words can’t explain it,” says Curtis Dawkins, the victim’s father. “It’s something that no one wants to go through.”

A few family members spoke outside the courthouse following the hearing.

“It was disheartening just to enter the courtroom for my son,” Dawkins says. “It was very emotional for me.”

The grand jury will meet next week. Patterson remains held without bond.

“We want the example to be set not just for here but all around the country,” says Eric Wilhoit, the victim’s uncle.

“They call 911 and then claim self defense — we have to stop this,” he says. “It’s not just with Julian, it’s going on all around the country.”

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