Accused Dixon high school shooter to remain committed for another 2 years

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DIXON, Ill. (WTVO) — A Lee County judge has determined that accused Dixon High School shooter Matthew Milby, Jr. will remain committed in a state facility for 2 years.

On Wednesday, Judge John Redington found there was sufficient evidence on four of the six counts against him to hold Milby in custody, including attempted first degree murder.

If Milby does not attain fitness to stand trial within two years, then the State can move to have him. civilly committed up to the maximum sentence on the highest attempted murder charge.

Margo Empen, Superintendent of the Dixon Public Schools stated, “This brings to conclusion a difficult chapter in the history of the District and provides some closure to the graduating class of 2018. The teachers, employees, and students of the District remain grateful for the quick-thinking actions of Officer Mark Dallas and Coach Andrew McKay at the time of the underlying incident.”

Milby is accused of bringing a 9mm semi-automatic rifle to Dixon High School graduation practice and exchanging gunfire with the school resource Officer Mark Dallas on May 16th, 2018.

Milby can be seen in surveillance video at the high school firing in the lobby and then running away.

In court, several people testified about what happened that day, including the principal, the gym teacher, and Officer Dallas.

Dallas said he has known Milby for years and after hearing the shots, chased after him.

“I observed that he had a long gun in his possession and, obviously, from the sound I heard and the smell of gunpowder in the lobby, I gave chase,” said Officer Dallas.

“I thought I was going to be in trouble for interrupting a training exercise,” said Andrew McKay, the PE teacher at Dixon High.

McKay says he saw the gunman, who he identified as Milby, in the school hallway. Initially, he believed he walked into the middle of an active shooter drill. It was only after a warning from then-school resource officer Dallas that he realized the weapon was real.

Surveillance shows he fired several shots at McKay and then ran away.

“I went to the big gym and alerted the students there was an active shooter in the building, and to exit the building as quickly as possible,” said McKay.

Dallas said he heard three shots.

“Obviously, from the sound I heard, and the smell of gunpowder in the lobby, I gave chase,” said Officer Dallas.

Dallas said he told Milby to put the gun down and told the judge while running, Milby fired at him over his shoulder. Dallas returned fire, hitting Milby.

“Just trying to go through my police training. And what’s gonna protect our community, protect myself,” Officer Dallas said.

Dallas revealed that he coached Milby over the years and his son was friends with him. In a dashcam video from a Lee County Sheriff squad car that was on the scene, you can see a distraught Dallas in tears. Dallas said he briefly talked to Milby after the shooting.

“I asked him, I go, ‘This is how you pay me back for everything I’ve helped you with in your life? This is how you treat me? This is what you do?” said Officer Dallas.

Milby was deemed unfit for trial previously in both 2018 and 2019.

After the decision, Lee County State’s Attorney said in a news release, ““I am happy that Officer Dallas and Teacher Andrew McKay had an opportunity to tell the public what happened to them on May 16, 2018.  The officers of the Dixon Police Department, Lee County Sheriff’s Office, the Illinois State Police, and the scientists at the Illinois State Police Crime Lab all put in incredible hours to help us put this case before the judge.  I would especially like to recognize my First Assistant, Brian Brim, and Victim Witness Coordinators, Sara Leisner and Kayla Forsell, for their tireless efforts and consummate professionalism. I could not be prouder of the efforts of the Lee County State’s Attorney’s Office and this incredible team of law enforcement professionals we are privileged to work with every day.”

Dixon Police Chief Steven C. Howell Jr. stated in a news release, “I would like to thank our State’s Attorney Charley Boonstra and his team for their countless hours of preparation for this discharge hearing.  I’m hopeful that today’s ruling will give the Dixon High School students and staff, and our Dixon community, a sense of closure.  To Law Enforcement, Fire and EMS personnel who responded to the Dixon High School that day, may they find comfort in knowing that their work in our community keeps us all safe and that their job was well-done.”

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