Intruder shooter\'s new hero to many

By PATRICE O\'SHAUGHNESSY
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

Brooklynite Ronald Dixon shot and wounded an intruder in his son\'s bedroom, and unleashed a wellspring of sympathy and support from people across the country.
The Jamaican immigrant living in Canarsie would seem an unlikely poster boy for heartland pro-gun groups, but since his story was featured in the Daily News two weeks ago, Dixon has become a cause celebre on the Internet and conservative talk shows. People he meets on the street call him a hero.

Dixon, 27, shot a career burglar who allegedly broke into his house on Dec. 14, blasting away with an unlicensed 9-mm. Ruger semiautomatic pistol. He wounded Ivan Thompson, 40, who has a 14-page rap sheet for burglary and larceny.

Dixon, a Navy veteran who holds two computer jobs, was charged with misdemeanor gun possession. Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes offered him a plea bargain that would require four weekends on Rikers Island, a deal Dixon and his lawyer flatly rejected.

Hynes'office has been besieged by hundreds of E-mails from angry gun activists as far away as Texas and California, and from people in Brooklyn who are ready to elect Dixon mayor.

Standing firm

But Hynes will not budge from his tough anti-gun policy.

\"If you get caught with a gun in Brooklyn, you\'re going to do jail time,\" said Hynes, who has held that stance since taking office in 1990, when, he says, \"Brooklyn was like Dodge City.\"

\"Depending on the circumstances, at the very least you\'re going to do some weekends, but no one is going to be able to take a bye,\" added Hynes.

Hynes said he questions parts of Dixon\'s account.

\"He did not apply for a gun permit in New York,\" the district attorney said. \"I don\'t know where exactly he got the gun.\"

Dixon\'s lawyer will move to have the charge thrown out in a hearing Tuesday. Dixon will bring his girlfriend, Tricia Best, and their two children to court.

\"I\'m just hoping we get something positive,\" Best said.

\"If the judge denies the motion to dismiss, we will ask for a trial,\" said lawyer Andrew Friedman. \"They\'re insisting on criminalizing him. A criminal record would be ruinous for his career.\"

Hynes said he would consider reducing Dixon\'s jail time to two weekends.

\"Clearly he was justified in shooting this burglar, and the burglar is going to get as much jail time as we can get him,\" said Hynes.

Thompson was indicted for burglary and criminal trespass and is being held on $75,000 bail. He allegedly broke into Dixon\'s house about 7:30 a.m. on a Saturday and was rifling dresser drawers in 23-month-old Kyle\'s bedroom.

Dixon took his pistol, which he bought in Florida and says he was in the process of registering here, and confronted Thompson, who allegedly lunged at him.

Dixon said he fired two shots because, \"The only thing I could think about was my family - there was no telling what he would do to my children or girlfriend.\"

As it turned out, Kyle was sleeping in an adjacent room with his sister Brittany, 8.

\"Everywhere, people are showing me total moral support,\" said Dixon, who says he is stunned by the response.

Still, he says, he finds himself jumpy.

\"I have a lot of nightmares,\" he said. \"I\'m pretty much locking myself in. My daughter is still scared. The other night the pizza man came, and as soon as he left she said, \'Put the alarm on.\'\"

Sean Hannity and Alan Colmes saw the story in The News and had Dixon and Friedman on their Fox News show. Dixon said the TV news magazine \"2-0/20\" called to profile him. He was the subject of an article in the National Review.

Everyone tells him they would have done the same - from the court officer at his arraignment to a worker in the Hallmark store where Dixon stopped to buy a card last week.

His story is posted on Web sites with names like galleryofguns, libertybelles, coldfury, keepandbeararms, survivalarts, fateswarning.

The National Rifle Association called to offer support.

\"I\'m not in the NRA; I never went in for that,\" said Dixon.

\"The situation is what it is. ..Sometimes I\'m depressed about it. I\'m thinking I just want it behind me, I\'d like for it to disappear. But it\'s not going to disappear.\"

Originally published on February 2, 2003