Roseville teacher Jerome Gordon-Jackson jumped from Hennepin Avenue bridge hours after DWI arrest

Categories: Tragedy
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Jerome Gordon-Jackson
Today, the Ramsey County medical examiner confirmed that a body found near the Ford Dam in the Mississippi River last week belonged to Jerome Gordon-Jackson.

SEE ALSO: Stone Arch Bridge suicides: Teenage couple jump to their deaths days after they go missing

Gordon-Jackson, a 28-year-old special education teacher for Roseville Area Schools, jumped to his death from the Hennepin Avenue Bridge early May 18, hours after he was arrested for DWI.

According to a Pioneer Press report, Gordon-Jackson, who lived with his grandmother in Dayton, Minnesota but had made plans to spend the night with a friend in Minneapolis, was out downtown with his friends the evening of May 17. Around 2 a.m. the following morning, he was pulled over with a BAL of 0.17. Minnesota State Patrol spokesman Eric Roeske characterized Gordon-Jackson as "very cooperative" while he was being arrested and processed at the police station.

According to a blogger who spoke with Gordon-Jackson's family, Jerome texted his sister about getting a ride from the police station after he was pulled over, but nobody heard from him after that. About 5 a.m., police received a report from a witness who said they saw Gordon-Jackson preparing to jump from the Hennepin Avenue Bridge and tried to "talk him down." That effort, tragically, was unsuccessful.

The blogger, Mackenzie Claire, writes that Gordon-Jackson "recently completed a Masters program in education, has no criminal record and has no history of mental illness."

One of the friends Gordon-Jackson was out with the last night of his life, Josh Baker, told the PiPress that Gordon-Jackson was to be a groomsman at his July wedding.

"We were looking forward to him being in our wedding and life," Baker said. "The last time we saw him he was all smiles."

CORRECTION -- An early version of this report was mistaken about the Minneapolis bridge Gordon-Jackson jumped from.

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at arupar@citypages.com.


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74 comments
chad_hanson
chad_hanson

I was walking home that night when I came upon Jerome standing on the ledge of the Hennepin Ave bridge. One other person and I each tried desperately to convince him not to jump. He seemed to listen for a few minutes and shortly after the first officer arrived, he jumped. I can't stop thinking about that moment and I will always wish that I could've done more or said something that would've convinced him not to do it. The police did nothing wrong at the scene. Those of you that are disparaging the police are wrong to do so. My heart goes out to Jerome and his family. I hope they can find peace.

MN AMBER Alert Fundraiser Organization - Non-Profi
MN AMBER Alert Fundraiser Organization - Non-Profi

How sad. Our thoughts and prayers to his family and all those that loved this young man. It takes a truly special soul to teach special education. Heartbreaking that such a caring individual has gone.

mhoffman54
mhoffman54

So many things about these comments bother me... First of all, I didn't know Jerome very well, but I've met him quite a few times. Unfortunately, I didn't even know his name until he killed himself. I've been doing security in bars downtown for years, and he's been a semi-regular patron in most of the bars I've worked in. The man ALWAYS had a smile on his face. ALWAYS. Any of you who have worked in the service industry know that there are some regulars who you put a fake smile on for, and there are some who you genuinely enjoy seeing. Jerome was one of those guys. So those of you saying negative things about him and passing judgement should be ashamed of yourselves. When your day comes I hope douchebags like you pass the same judgement onto you.

Dayo LaLa
Dayo LaLa

This sounds suspect. At the very least some at MPD didn't do their job. There's no way in the world that he could get arrested at 2am in downtown mpls booked, sober up and released in three hours.

Charlie Seto
Charlie Seto

The Pioneer Post article you reference suggests it was the Hennepin Ave Bridge, not Stone Arch. It doesn't change a whole lot. That said, he didn't show up in the Booking Roster; perhaps because he wasn't technically held? http://www4.co.hennepin.mn.us/webbooking/

Melissa Servais
Melissa Servais

Well sure, NOW they say that. But as for a week ago, they allegedly had no record of him being pulled over. Also, if he was that drunk, why would they release him right away?

Cheryl Strand Petersen
Cheryl Strand Petersen

Are you the topic police? Not off topic at all. It's a shame that this man is dead, largely due to alcohol for many reasons. If it weren't for alcohol, he would be in class teaching today.

Melissa Servais
Melissa Servais

I say this based on the FB posts that my friends have shared, from his family & friends, who reported him missing and were doing everything they could to get media coverage of his case as a missing person. They allege he was pulled over in Brooklyn Center around 2 am and texted his sister to pick him up after his car was impounded. There was apparently no police report taken when he was pulled over. When his family called the police, they were told that he jumped from the Stone Arch Bridge. How the heck did he get from Brooklyn Center to downtown Minneapolis, when his car was impounded? I don't trust the MPD.

Cheryl Strand Petersen
Cheryl Strand Petersen

Don't you think we'd have the right to marijuana? I don't smoke it nor do I drink. I just think it's odd that we American's support the legality of such a lethal and dangerous man-made drug and don't support a natural plant... Strange, huh? Skinner, I understand "freedom", but if you are so delusional to really think you're "free" in this country, you're insane! If drinking alcohol is the kind of "freedom" you'd fight for, you go for it big guy!

Tom Fru
Tom Fru

alcohol doesn't ruin lives. bad decisions ruin lives.

Jeff Skinner
Jeff Skinner

It makes zero difference if I like alcohol or not. It is the individual right of every American citizen to choose if they want to drink it or not. What part of "Freedom" don't you understand? Go ahead.. ask away. I'll do my best to explain it to you (with a 4th grade textbook, of course) the Forefather's vision of personal freedoms.

Juniper Lee
Juniper Lee

That is a damn shame. Employers need to revisit this policy. Perhaps a 3 strikes type thing (depending on the circumstances and how the employee handles it). For someone to feel that they've lost their credibility and professional future - this is a huge mistake.

digitalprotocol
digitalprotocol topcommenter

mental illness for sure. this kid is an idiot. on the upside, he got that masters degree for FREE

Cheryl Strand Petersen
Cheryl Strand Petersen

Skinner, I could use a trip about now! Send me some tickets! I'm not here to argue. I just think it's a shame this kind of thing has to happen when it could have easily been avoided. Alcohol=ruined lives, no matter how you look at it! Yet, marijuana, a natural plant is illegal... Yes, this country makes no sense.

Bradley Linnell
Bradley Linnell

Mel, what makes you say this? I think this is tragic. I know a DWI can seriously impact ones career prospects.

Cheryl Strand Petersen
Cheryl Strand Petersen

Yup. You're point? I already said the hardcore's would find booze anyway... Sooo???

Jeff Skinner
Jeff Skinner

After your last comment, I will buy you a first class ticket. You can leave on the next flight out of The United States of America.

Jeff Skinner
Jeff Skinner

S'cuse me.. Did you study U.S. prohibition? You do know it was a miserably failed law from 1920-33, that resulted in the creation of bathtub gin, moonshining, bootlegging, and speakeasies, right?

Juniper Lee
Juniper Lee

This is a horrible shame! He was a smart man and a public servant to our education system and kids! I know many professionals fear that they will lose their jobs or good reputation when things like this happen. People make mistakes. I wonder what the policy is in the Minneapolis professional arena...are smart, productive people penalized or blackballed in their careers for making these public errors in judgement? What a terrible loss to our community. /sadness.

BigLex SouthSide WherevaImat
BigLex SouthSide WherevaImat

For those saying he didn't jump, you never know what someone is thinking or feeling on the inside. Especially a man, because men tend to shield their feelings. I don't know this man, but I do know a smile is a mask people wear, to mask what they're feeling. We all have wore a smile before when we really weren't smiling on the inside. The only thing we can do is try to be there for each other and let people know, especially men, that it IS OK to talk about feelings and even cry. Because so many men have been taught that it's not ok to express emotion and cry, and sometimes when it gets bottled up for so long suicide ends up being the result. God bless. R.I.P.

Cheryl Strand Petersen
Cheryl Strand Petersen

Availability of alcohol is not a 'right'. We have made it legal. We can make it illegal!

Jeff Skinner
Jeff Skinner

Hey Cheryl, I want offer to pay your way to any communist country of your choosing.. and I will gladly pay your legal fees for defection.

Cheryl Strand Petersen
Cheryl Strand Petersen

It would never fly for the US is so packed with alcoholics and others... The hardcore's would find booze anyway, yet it may keep others away from it. Like people like this guy who may have gone and drank for the first time in years. NOT having alcohol available is not a BAD thing, ya know!!!

mgn.stein
mgn.stein

@chad_hanson have you reported to the police that you witnessed this? The police only named one witness and it was not 'Chad Hanson.' Also, there is no record of a 911 call, that an officer was at the scene when he jumped, or an incident report of him jumping, being pulled over, or his car being towed. If an officer and several witnesses were there, why was Jerome missing for 3 days? I requested information from data services, left several voicemails, etc., but can't get any info (neither can Hennepin Cty. detectives). There also isn't an incident report for his towed vehicle (family retrieved his vehicle- it was towed). Police have told reporters at the Star Tribune that he was arrested but they told the family that he was  left at the scene where is car was towed. If you were a witness, please talk to the family (if you haven't already). The family doesn't think there was a conspiracy or cover-up; they just want to find out what happened prior to his death. Thanks.

mhoffman54
mhoffman54

Also, to you conspiracy theorists out there, sometimes in life things happen that we cannot explain. Why this seemingly happy guy would want to take his own life may not make sense to us. A friend of mine was biking home across the bridge that night and saw Jerome hop the railing and stand on the ledge. He called 911 and police arrived within minutes. As they approached Jerome he looked back and them and jumped into the river below. We will never know what was going through his head, but he was obviously impaired and distressed. It is absolutely unfair to blame the professionals who were on scene trying to save his life. When I got my DUI 4 years ago, I was in and out of jail in less than an hour. Granted it was in Bloomington, and not the shitshow that the downtown jail is, but still, it is absolutely possible for him to have been released in a few hours, and the Hennepin Ave bridge is only a few blocks from the jail, so I'm not sure what's so unbelievable about this?? (Oh, and KennyX, before you call me a "DUMBFUCK", State Patrol, and quite a few suburbs, book DUIs downtown. Keep your shit talking to yourself.)

Plain and simple, we should stop the trash talking and blame passing, and acknowledge the fact that regardless of why or how something like this happened, a life was lost, and this is truly a tragedy for his family and friends. RIP Jerome.

_Joe_
_Joe_

@Dayo LaLa When I was arrested for DUI, I was officially booked at 0330 and released at 0645.  Totally reasonable.

kennyX
kennyX

@Dayo LaLa DUMBFUCK....He was arrested by the State Patrol, NOT MPD. Are you really that stupid?

keny1
keny1

@Melissa Servais Hey dumbass. He was pulled over by the State Patrol, not the MPD.

TimesChange
TimesChange

@Jeff Skinner "The Founding Fathers..." Ok, I'll bite. The deceased (RIP) was a black man. What'd the Founding Fathers say about the freedom(s) of black people?

vicechrist
vicechrist

@Jeff Skinner If it were so free, why is legal drinking age 21? Not saying I don't agree with you on every one of your other standpoints, as I DO.

_Joe_
_Joe_

@BigLex SouthSide WherevaImat  When I was arrested for DUI, it was one of the lowest moments of  my life.  I was ashamed.  I felt stupid.  I'd BEEN stupid.  I had to tell my family and my employers.  People had to make accommodations for me during my license suspension.  It's really an awful feeling.  It passed, but it took a long time.  I learned a hard lesson from it.

I can definitely relate to the state of mind this man was in when he jumped.  I wish he could have realized that it does heal over time.

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