Jefferson City Police confirm they are investigating the apparent suicide of Spence Jackson, the spokesman for the late state auditor Tom Schweich, who committed suicide February 26.
Police say a member of Jackson’s family asked them to check on his well-being after they were unable to reach him. They went to his Jefferson City apartment shortly after 7 p.m. and found Jackson in his bedroom dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Police say there were no signs of forced entry or a struggle. Detectives are investigating the death as a suicide and an autopsy will be conducted today. The police department will hold a media conference at 11:30 this morning.
Jackson had worked for nearly the last four years as Schweich’s communications director. After Schweich’s suicide in February, Jackson was among those who said Schweich was angry at the time of his death about a whispering campaign he believed had been going on in a segment of the state Republican party.
Schweich, a Republican, believed John Hancock, who was elected party chairman in February, had been telling potential fundraisers that Schweich was Jewish, which Schweich’s friends said he believed was an attempt to hurt him among evangelical Christian voters in his bid for the party’s nomination for governor in 2016. Schweich was Episcopalian.
Jackson was one of those who publicly called for Hancock’s resignation. Hancock has denied that such a campaign existed. He says he once mistakenly believed Schweich was Jewish and might have said so on occasion, but denies it would have been in an attempt to hurt Schweich.
Prior to working for Schweich, Jackson had worked as the communications director for the Missouri Department of Economic Development under then-governor Matt Blunt as well as the communications director for Blunt’s office in 2005 and much of 2006, and for Blunt’s campaign in 2004.
Former governor Blunt released a statement this morning in response to the news of Jackson’s death:
“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.”