Rifle-wielding protester charged, Sheriff's Office seeking others
The Durham County Sheriff’s Office has arrested one man and is looking for at least four others it says carried a semi-automatic rifle, an ax and other weapons this month in anticipation of a march by white supremacists in downtown Durham.
On Sunday the Sheriff’s Office arrested Dwayne Emil Dixon, 45. He was charged with two misdemeanors, having a weapon at a public assembly or rally and going armed to the terror of people.
Dixon was among the hundreds who gathered downtown Aug. 18, in response to a rumored white supremacists rally. A rally never materialized, but the response resulted in an hours-long demonstration in front of the old Durham County courthouse on East Main Street.
Dixon was seen carrying a semi-automatic rifle loaded with a 30-round magazine and carrying at least two other magazines, said Maj. Paul Martin.
“So he had a total of 90 bullets,” Martin said.
Dixon was arrested Sunday after law enforcement received a complaint about gunshots in East Durham, Martin said. When officers responded, they checked warrants and arrested Dixon, Martin said.
He was released on $5,000 bail.
The Sheriff’s Office also has an arrest warrant for Elijah Early Pryor, 44. Pryor faces the same charges as Dixon. The warrant states he was carrying a black semi-automatic handgun in a holder on his hip.
Martin said the Sheriff’s Office is also looking to identify at least three others for having weapons at the Aug. 18 demonstration. They weren’t arrested that day because there were a lot of people standing around them, Martin said.
“We had to take into consideration what we were dealing with,” Martin said.
White nationalists in Charlottesville, Virginia, were carrying weapons. Martin said he doesn’t know about Virginia laws, but in North Carolina it is illegal to openly carry at a demonstration. Those carrying weapons at the Durham event were creating a dangerous situation in an emotionally volatile crowd, he said.
“What we are trying to do is prevent bloodshed,” Martin said.