Saturday, March 31, 2012

Annandale, VA: Murder-suicide suspected in father-daughter deaths

A former Fairfax County police sergeant and his 13-year-old daughter died in an apparent murder-suicide, shot as they sat in a sport-utility vehicle in a relative’s Annandale driveway early Monday, Fairfax County police said.

A family member found the bodies of John Jackson, 40, and his daughter, Alexis Jackson, shortly after 1 a.m. outside the brick home in the 3800 block of Forest Grove Drive, where Jackson’s wife had been living with her parents since November.

Jackson and his daughter, of the 5900 block of Summers Lane in Falls Church, are believed to have died between midnight and 1 a.m. Officers were called to the scene about 1:15 a.m., police said.

Fairfax County court records show that Jackson and his wife were going through a bitter divorce last summer but that they dropped the proceedings in January.

Detectives said the evidence points to John Jackson as the shooter, but they were waiting for the state medical examiner to rule on the cause and manner of the pair’s death.

Police declined to discuss a possible motive.

Jackson was a 16-year veteran of the county police force before he resigned in June 2010, said Officer Shelley Broderick, a police spokesman. Broderick said the department could not discuss Jackson’s performance or why he left the force because personnel records are confidential. But those who knew him said he had served with distinction.

Edward J. Nuttall, the former longtime attorney for the Fairfax police officers union, said the incident was “absolutely shocking. He was a hard-working officer, a good supervisor. This one’s hitting a lot of nerves.”

Nuttall said Jackson worked as an undercover narcotics detective early in his career and was promoted to sergeant in 2006. He was last stationed in Mount Vernon.

A 1997 Associated Press article said a county officer named John Jackson saved the life of a choking toddler by performing the Heimlich maneuver at a restaurant.

Police officials would not say whether it was the same John Jackson who died Monday, but they said there were no other officers on the force with that name. Jackson was presented with a Valor Award by the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce for saving the child.

The plaudits were in stark contrast to the private life detailed in divorce proceedings. Jackson’s wife filed for divorce in July, alleging that he treated her in a “cruel and abusive manner.”

In an incident in January 2010, she alleged in court papers, her husband made her take off her clothes, drenched them in water and would not let her dress until the next morning. He also brandished a rifle in front of his wife and daughter, according to court papers.

Jackson filed a divorce complaint of his own, saying that his wife had had numerous affairs.

Alexis Jackson was a seventh-grader at Glasgow Middle School in Lincolnia. Grief counselors were at the school Tuesday and will be available for the rest of the week, according to county school officials.

“On behalf of Glasgow Middle School, I have extended our sincere condolences to the family,” Principal Deirdre M. Lavery said in a letter to parents. “A sudden loss like this can have an effect on students. For that reason, we hope that you will listen to your son or daughter as well as discuss with them their feelings and reactions to this tragedy.”

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