Authorities said Monday that an aide to late gubernatorial candidate and Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich (R) left a note before he apparently took his own life.
The Jefferson City, Mo. Police Department confirmed Monday morning that Spence Jackson, a 44-year-old spokesman for Schweich, was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound Sunday night.
Capt. Doug Shoemaker said in a news conference on Monday that police believe Jackson took his own life sometime between Friday and Saturday. Jackson’s mother had been unable to reach her son, who lived alone, and contacted police to check up on him, Shoemaker said.
Shoemaker largely avoided getting into specifics about the circumstances of Jackson’s death, citing an ongoing investigation into the apparent suicide. The police captain did say that the investigation had uncovered a note at the scene of Jackson’s death but repeatedly declined to discuss the contents of that note.
A .357 Magnum revolver was also recovered near Jackson’s body along with a single spent round, Shoemaker said. Police have not yet established ownership of the weapon, he added.
Jackson’s death came a little more than a month after Schweich’s own suicide amid rumors that the state’s Republican Party Chairman, John Hancock, had been telling people the candidate was Jewish even though he was an Episcopalian. Jackson was the first person to publicly demand Hancock’s resignation from the state party over the allegations.
Shoemaker said the department was “very aware” of the political issues surrounding Schweich’s death but refused to connect the two apparent suicide cases.
“Our agency won’t entertain questions that link Mr. Jackson to any political issue, perceived or real,” he said, later adding that the department would leave its options open depending on where the investigation takes them.
Shoemaker said that the agency did reach out to the Clayton, Mo. Police Department, which was still investigating Schweich’s death.
Hancock addressed Jackson’s death Monday via Twitter:
Tragic news this morning. My heart goes out to Spence Jackson’s friends and family. Very, very sad.
— John Hancock (@johnrhancock) March 30, 2015
Jackson’s former boss, Missouri ex-Gov. Matt Blunt (R), also remembered Jackson Monday on Facebook.
“Melanie and I are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Spence Jackson who was a good friend for many years,” Blunt wrote. “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.”
This post has been updated.