JEFFERSON CITY, MO (KTVI)- Spence Jackson, media director for former Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich, was found dead in his Jefferson City apartment Sunday night. Jackson’s death comes about one month after Schweich’s suicide. He was 44.
Jefferson City police responded to Jackson’s apartment in the 900 block of Southwest Boulevard for a “check well-being” call. Jackson’s mother said her son was unresponsive to calls and other attempts to raise him. The property manager provided the key to the officers who entered to find Jackson in his bedroom. Authorities are saying he died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Jefferson City Police held a press conference about the death on Monday morning. They revealed that Jackson was found in his apartment with a note and a .357 Magnum revolver. They say the note points towards a suicide as a cause of death. The gun had one spent round.
Spence Jackson did not have a gun registered in his name. Police are working on determining who owns the weapon. There were no calls of gunshots near the apartment complex where Jackson lived. Police say it is possible that no one called police about the gunshot.
There were no signs of forced entry. A number of items have been removed from Spence Jackson’s apartment as evidence. An autopsy was scheduled for Monday. The results could take some time to be released. The toxicology screening can take a while.
Jackson had been Schweich`s media director since May of 2011. He also held other key republican jobs in state government.
Jackson was critical of Schweich`s political adversaries and even called for the resignation of Missouri`s Republican Party Chairman John Hancock. That came after allegations that Hancock was behind an anti-Semitic ‘whisper campaign’ that may have led to Schweich committing suicide. Hancock has strongly denied that accusation.
Schweich shot and killed himself at his Clayton home on February 26th.
Sources tell the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Jackson took a sick day last Friday.
Some of Jackson`s other jobs included being the communications director for Matt Blunt when he was Secretary of State.
Former Missouri Governor Matt Blunt today issued the following statement:
“Melanie and I are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Spence Jackson who was a good friend for many years. Spence was a gifted communicator who dedicated his talents in public affairs to public service. Over his career he served as chief spokesman for three of Missouri’s statewide offices including that of the governor when I held that post. Spence was hard-working, well-liked and quick-witted. He will truly be missed. We mourn his passing and offer our prayers to his family and friends.”
Jackson also worked for Blunt when he was governor as well as for the Missouri Department of Economic Development.
Dave Luther, former spokesperson for Jefferson City schools was asked to serve as interim spokesman for the auditor’s office.
“The situation is unusual to say the least, very tragic, but just having been with a few of the individuals that work in the auditor’s office, what strikes me is this is a very sad time but they are doing the work that they need to do and that’s impressive,” Luther said.
At the apartment complex where Jackson lived and where his body was found, a neighbor expressed her sadness at the news.
“I am shocked, it just seems like there is no closure to this,” said Che Wilson.’
“A very tragic situation,” she said.