ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Albany police are on the lookout for a shooter who killed a man during an armed robbery Sunday morning.
Dougherty County Coroner Michael Fowler said Thomas Anthony Dixon, 50, died of a single gunshot wound to the torso.
Albany police said Dixon was shot and killed on Willis Drive shortly after 9:30 a.m.
Police said the suspect is a black male with a medium to dark skin complexion. He is about 5' 6" and weighs about 160 pounds and was last seen running west, then north on Willis Drive wearing a dark gray hoodie with large gold letters.
On Sunday, Dixon's family was still coming to terms with his death.
"I was in shock. I really couldn't believe it because even though he drank he didn't bother nobody," said Jerry Gibson, Dixon's cousin.
According to police, Dixon was trying to protect his 72-year-old mother from an armed robbery as she was leaving her home headed to church.
Gibson said that makes Dixon a hero.
"I mean out of the 50 some years on this street we've never had a situation like this before," said Gibson.
Gibson and Dixon grew up together in the same home.
He said Dixon was like a brother.
"He was a good guy. Everyone in the community knew him," explained Dixon. "He was aggravating at times, but he was a lovable guy. And for somebody to take his life. I can't wake up on a first Sunday knowing that this would be happening."
Now, Gibson said he'll cherish the memories he had with Dixon.
"For many years he played Santa Claus with me for my kids, for all my kids. They're grown now, but for many years we played Santa Claus together, Christmas Eve together, spent Christmas together. We shared everything together. And for somebody to take his life is just devastating."
Other family members were nearby when the shooting happened.
On Monday, they were still coming to terms with how the events played out.
Dixon's uncle, Hardrick Grant Jr., said he is putting his faith in the Albany Police Investigators to find the man who killed his nephew.
"They just need to catch them wherever he is. They say they are going to catch them," said Grant.
Dixon's grandmother said she is keeping to her faith.
Gibson has a message for those who consider resorting to violence.
"We can't. We killing each other, man. This is our community. This is our streets. This is our home -- Albany," said Gibson.
Dixon's death is the 22nd homicide case in 2017 for Albany. One of the cases involves a victim whose remains were only recently identified, but the crime happened two years ago.
If you know anything about this shooting, you are asked to call CrimeSTOPPERS at (229) 436-TIPS.
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