Update 3/31/15: Jefferson City police have released the contents of Jackson's alleged suicide note at the request of his family. Full updates at the bottom of this post.
Spence Jackson, a long-serving media spokesman who had most recently worked for late Missouri auditor Tom Schweich, was found dead Sunday evening of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, say police. Jackson was 44.
Jackson's death comes as a shocking new chapter in the aftermath of Schweich's apparent suicide last month. Though it's unclear how, or if, the two deaths are related, Jackson had been a vocal critic of Republican Party chairman John Hancock over his alleged role in spreading an anti-Semitic "whisper campaign" against Schweich, who was a front-runner for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. Hancock has repeatedly denied the accusations, and the controversy has led to a rift among top Missouri Republicans.
According to a statement released by Jefferson City police captain Doug Shoemaker, police responded to Jackson's apartment Sunday around 7 p.m. after a caller asked officers to check in on him. The caller, Jackson's mother, told police Jackson wasn't answering his phone. Jackson lived alone in an apartment in the 900 block of Southwest Boulevard in Jefferson City.
When officers were let into the apartment by the property manager, they discovered Jackson in his bedroom. Evidence at the scene did not suggest forced entry. Police say an autopsy is planned for today and that the investigation is ongoing.
This is a breaking story; we'll update as more info becomes available.
Here's the press release from the Jefferson City Police Department.
On Sunday, March 29, 2015 at just after 7 p.m., Jefferson City Police responded to an apartment in the 900 block of Southwest Boulevard for a 'check well-being' call of Robert "Spence" Jackson, a 45 year old Jefferson City resident. According to the caller, a family member of Jackson, he was unresponsive to calls or other attempts to raise him at the apartment. The property manager was able to provide a key to responding officers, who entered the residence and located Jackson in his bedroom. Initial assessment of the scene indicated that Jackson died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, but Jefferson City Police Detectives were called to the scene to investigate.
Physical evidence at the scene, along with an examination of the apartment, did not indicate any signs of forced entry or struggle, but Detectives began a full investigation with the assistance of Patrol personnel to canvas the area and contact those who knew Jackson. This investigation is still an open investigation, and no details regarding findings will be released as of yet.
An autopsy is planned for today, and Detectives are continuing to investigate this case as a suicide, although further information will be necessary to eliminate any other possible causes for Jackson's death.
Jackson was previously employed as the spokesperson for Tom Schweich, the Missouri State Auditor who committed suicide in February of this year.
Update 1 p.m. 3/31/15: Jefferson City police captain Doug Shoemaker read aloud from the alleged suicide note left by Jackson. He said no copies will be distributed, nor will photos of the note be provided. The note reads, in its entirety:
I'm so sorry. I just can't take being unemployed again.
Shoemaker said that the incident is still being investigated as a suicide. A gun was found on the bed with Jackson's body along with a single spent cartridge. He also clarified reports that Jackson took a sick day the Friday before his death. Shoemaker said Jackson actually took the Thursday before that off, then worked as usual on Friday until about noon. He then left the office and did not return. None of his coworkers told police they noticed anything unusual about Jackson's demeanor.
Shoemaker also said that the family wanted to release the note's contents to clear up rumors that are being spread about Jackson's death.
"It's the family's belief that this could help potentially clear some things up," said Shoemaker.
Additional reporting by Jessica Lussenhop.