Suspect charged in 2017 cold case murder of DC police officer in Baltimore

Authorities have announced an arrest in a seven-year-old cold case murder of an off-duty D.C. police officer in Baltimore.

The State’s Attorney for Baltimore announced Wednesday that Dion Thompson has been charged with First-Degree Murder, Conspiracy, and related charges for the murder of D.C. Police Sgt. Tony Mason Jr. 

In November 2017, Mason and a woman he was seeing were sitting in the car talking and drinking in the 2800 block of Elgin Avenue across from the Elgin Townhomes around 12:45 a.m. when a dark-colored car pulled up next to them. 

A probable cause affidavit states that a passenger in that car yelled something to the couple and then at least one person fired several shots into Mason’s car. 

The 43-year-old woman in the car was shot in the leg but survived. Mason, however, was found unresponsive at the scene and was pronounced dead shortly after the shooting. 

Detectives began investigating and found 16 shell casings were recovered from the scene from two different 9mm guns. Investigators determined that the incident was not domestic-related and neither of the victims were involved in any criminal or gang activity. 

Baltimore officials would not comment on a motive in the shooting during Wednesday’s press conference but the probable cause statement details a case of mistaken identity that led up to the shooting. 

The documents state that Thompson walked out of a house on Elgin Avenue and saw the car Mason and the woman were sitting in. He reportedly "became paranoid," believing that the two people in the car were there to rob him or retaliate against him for robberies he’d committed. 

Thompson told two friends inside of the house on Elgin Avenue to "get the guns" and he came back to pick them up in his car. 

The group circled the block, pulled up next to Mason and the woman and yelled over to them. The documents say as soon as Mason looked up, Thompson fired the fatal shots and fled the scene. 

Mason was a 40-year-old veteran police officer who spent 17 years with the Metropolitan Police Department. He was unarmed at the time of the shooting and did not have anything on that would identify him as a police officer. 

"On Nov. 4, 2017, we lost a member of our MPD family to senseless gun violence. Sgt. Mason’s dedication to service, his commitment to the safety of our communities and the void of his absence has been keenly felt over the years," MPD Police Chief Pamela Smith said during a press conference Wednesday.

Police say the information from the tipster led them to arrest Thompson but that he had been on their radar for "several years."

"While nothing will bring Sergeant Mason back or end his family’s pain, we hope they can take some comfort in knowing that law enforcement will not stop pursuing justice and holding accountable anyone found responsible for taking the life of one of our own," said William J. DelBagno, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Baltimore Field Office. 

Thompson is already in federal prison related to a 2018 drug arrest in Baltimore County. He will be arraigned and transported back to Baltimore City to be formally charged in the case 

Authorities are still searching for others involved in the crime. Police say anyone with additional information is asked to call the Baltimore Police Department Homicide Unit at 410-396-2100 or Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-7LOCKUP.