West Point football player Marcus Dixon, 22, accidentally shot himself Thursday night when he was showing his .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol to some of his friends at his apartment. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
According to police, Dixon removed the magazine from the pistol and, thinking it was empty, pulled the trigger to show his friends that it was safe. But one round was hidden in the chamber.
Lt. Diedrich Hohn told The Stamford Advocate that drugs and alcohol did not appear to be involved. "There was nothing illegal. It was a tragic accident," he said.Police Capt. Richard Conklin told the newspaper that Dixon may have thought the weapon had a magazine disconnect safety, which makes it inoperable when the magazine is removed. But Dixon's pistol did not have that safety feature.
Before Dixon was chosen to play for West Point, he was football captain at Stamford High School in Connecticut.
Former Stamford High School coach Kevin Jones told the Advocate: "Marcus had a lot of rough spots in his life and did not have it easy growing up. When he came to us there were a lot of things that we needed to address that had nothing to do with football, but we used football as a way to deal with them. The turnaround that kid made is probably the greatest I have ever seen in my 20 years of coaching."
Four years ago, Dixon told The Advocate that he never knew his biological mother and his father abandoned him when he was in the seventh grade. His father's parting words: "Kid, you're on your own now."
Dixon stayed with various friends for several years and managed to avoid foster homes. At 17, he was adopted by one of his friend's parents, prompting a "180-degree turn" in his life.