Jacksonville Police officers are continuing a homicide investigation this afternoon as investigators search for a suspect in a city man’s death.
Morgan County Coroner Jeff Lair says 24-year-old Marcus Jackson was pronounced dead around 2:45 this morning at Passavant Area Hospital from a gunshot wound. Initial reports were made that the gunshot wound was to the head, but that has since been retracted by Lair.
Jacksonville Police Chief Tony Grootens says at around 2:00, an officer in the parking lot of the police department, which is in the 200 block of West Douglas, heard shots west of the building. Officers went to investigate at the corner of Douglas and Fayette.
Upon arrival, Grootens says they found Jackson had been shot. Grootens says he was taken to the hospital in a personal vehicle.
“There is currently an autopsy being conducted to determine for sure the cause of death. We are investigating it as a homicide; currently, and it’s ongoing as we speak,” Grootens says. “Also, there is a person of interest, although that person of interest is not in custody at this time.”
Grootens says there had been a party at the location. Witnesses indicate Jackson was involved in a fight before the alleged shooting, and Grootens confirms that’s an angle investigators are looking into.
“We are conducting interviews as we speak, interviews are being done. We still have people at the crime scene. Like I said, this is an ongoing investigation,” he says.
One of the people that heard the shooting, April Franklin Walton, lived just two houses down on Douglas.
“My dog started barking, and I just heard a lot of arguing or fussing or whatever, then shortly after, I the arguing. I heard five gunshots: pop, pop, pop, pop, pop,” says Franklin Walton.
“And that was it, and I heard somebody holler, ‘He dead, he dead, he dead.’ It’s just sad that it came to this, this baby lost his life. It’s just sick. He lost his life over nothing. He died a senseless death, and it could have been prevented,” she continues.
The alleged shooting took place across from District 117’s central office and kindergarten building. Dana Kinley is the District 117 assistant superintendent.
“We really didn’t do anything out of the ordinary, other than being very vigilant and re-directing the buses to drop students off in front of the building as opposed to the side,” Kinley says.
“Same thing with asking our teachers to park in a different location so that we didn’t impeded any of the investigation that might be going on.”
This is the first homicide investigation in Jacksonville since July 2013.
We’ll continue to update this story as new details become available.
Updated at 1:15 p.m.