PANOLA COUNTY, Texas (KTAL/KETK) – A Shreveport Police captain and a Louisiana artist made a special presentation Wednesday of an original portrait of a fallen East Texas deputy sheriff to his family.
Panola County Deputy Christopher Dickerson was shot and killed in the line of duty on New Year’s Eve 2019 after a man opened fire on him during a traffic stop.
JaNiece Cefalu, a portrait artist from Louisiana, and Captain Joey Bartlett, went to Panola County to present a portrait of Dickerson to his wife, Krista, and their two little girls.
Cefalu, who is a corrections officer for the Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office, formerly worked in the telecommunications office for the Shreveport Police Department and has a history of painting portraits of fallen officers and presenting them to their families.
Wednesday’s presentation to Krista Dickerson came a lot later than Cefalu had hoped, but COVID-19, Louisiana’s stay-at-home orders, as well as Texas’ prohibiting Louisianans from crossing the state line prevented the presentation until now.
SUSPECT IN THE CASE
According to the sheriff’s office, Dickerson was shot and killed around 2 a.m. on New Year’s Eve, while conducting a traffic stop near the intersection of Farm-to-Market Road 10 and Farm-to-Market Road 2260.
Panola County Sheriff Kevin Lake said the deputy stopped a Chevrolet Tahoe on the north side of FM-10 when the driver suddenly got out of the vehicle and fired a weapon. The deputy returned fire.
The Texas Rangers were called in to help with the investigation.
The suspect, Gregory Newsom, 47, of Shreveport, abruptly jumped out of his vehicle and opened fire when Deputy Dickerson pulled him over. Investigators believe the wounded deputy was able to return fire.
Newson was located about one hour later in his hometown on Bumcombe Road, suffering from gunshot wounds, a punctured lung, and broken ribs after he crashed.
He had to be taken down by a K9 officer and was treated for a dog bite.
Under Texas law, Newsom can only face life without parole or the death penalty if he is convicted.
HONORING A HERO
Dickerson’s death prompted a national, and even international, show of support from local police and organizations.
In June, the family was able to take part in the inaugural End of Watch Ride Remember tour.
A non-profit organization, the 100 Club of East Texas, stepped up to help the family financially. The organization assists in 20 East Texas counties in total.
The U.S. Honor Flag was present for Dickerson’s funeral. The Honor Network coordinated all funeral arrangement on behalf of the family and the department. Although he was killed in 2019, his funeral was the first Line of Duty Death funeral for the U.S. Honor Flag in 2020.
Governor Greg Abbott issued a statement on the deputy’s death in the line of duty:
“My thoughts and prayers are with the family of the Deputy killed in the line of duty and with the Panola County Sheriff’s Office as they deal with the aftermath of this unimaginable tragedy. We must never forget the solemn oath our law enforcement officers take to protect and keep our communities safe. We must also ensure that the perpetrator faces swift justice. I ask that all Texans join Cecilia and me in remembering the sacrifice and service of this brave sheriff’s Deputy.”