Man charged in weekend shooting in Polk County

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WWSB Generic Stock 5(WWSB-ABC7)
Published: Aug. 31, 2022 at 12:04 PM EDT
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POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WWSB) - The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is conducting a homicide investigation following an early Saturday morning shooting.

Deputies were sent to the area of Meadow Green Drive for a reported shooting. When they arrived, they found witnesses performing CPR on a shooting victim.

Polk Fire Rescue arrived shortly after and pronounced the victim deceased.

Deputies say Thomas Jackson, 35, of Loughman, his girlfriend, and another couple were celebrating Jackson’s birthday and all had been drinking alcohol. Sometime during the night Jackson and his girlfriend were arguing, and the victim took Jackson outside the residence to try to calm him down.

A few moments later, the two women inside the house heard gunshots and went outside where they observed Jackson standing over the victim; a handgun was on the ground.

One of the witnesses confronted Jackson and the other began life saving measures.

Deputies say Jackson claimed the victim had charged at him.

He also had a small wallet size card with instructions about what to say “post-incident” that included claiming that the person with the card was being attacked.

Detectives did not observe injuries on Jackson nor the victim “to suggest that great bodily harm was a factor” nor was there evidence on the ground to suggest a struggle took place.

During the investigation witnesses told detectives that Jackson was known to brandish a weapon during conflicts with other people. Detectives also learned that Jackson had been in a physical fight with another person the day before.

Jackson was arrested for second-degree murder with a weapon. He also has arrests in Virginia for intentional damage of monument and violation of probation, and an arrest in Georgia for DUI and endangering a child by DUI.