Shooting victim remembered as outgoing, friendly
Published: Saturday, July 6, 2013 at 6:05 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, July 6, 2013 at 6:05 p.m.
OCALA -- Ocala Police Department detectives say they have developed "persons of interest" in the death of 40-year-old Julius Jerome Jacobs, who was gunned down Friday night on the side of the road.
Officials said there are several individuals with whom they would like to talk, but they did not release the names of those people on Saturday.
Meantime, the Medical Examiner's Office in Leesburg conducted an autopsy on Jacobs' body Saturday morning, but the findings were not immediately available.
Police officials said they have not recovered any weapon or weapons used and have not yet determined a motive for the killing.
OPD received a call at 9:32 p.m. Friday about a man who had been shot in the 1900 block of Southwest Third Street. Arriving on scene, police were told that Jacobs had pulled up into a driveway and there was a confrontation.
Jacobs ended up being fatally shot in the head, witnesses said.
The alleged shooter and two other men ran from the scene, witnesses said. Detectives spent much of the night investigating the scene, gathering evidence, tracking down leads and interviewing anyone who might have knowledge of the shooting.
They were trying to verify if the shooting is related to an earlier altercation nearby between the victim and others.
As detectives continued their efforts to find the person or people responsible, those who knew Jacobs described the father of five as an outgoing, friendly, likable man who shied away from confrontation and loved his church.
Early Saturday morning, several hours after Jacobs was slain, family and friends were gathered at Ocala Regional Medical Center to comfort each other and Jacobs' mother, who was hospitalized for precautionary reasons because of shock over her son's death. They were in disbelief about his passing and, most of all, the way he died, family members and friends said on Saturday.
"I just don't understand it. ... He doesn't bother anybody, he keeps to himself. He's like an old man who loves his church music, loved old music, like jazz and soul music," said friend Cheryl Mannigault, who said she has known Jacobs since she moved to Florida in 1982. "Whatever the problem was, I bet he was the peacemaker."
Lateria Myhand said Jacobs, assistant director for men at the choir at Welcome Stranger Missionary Baptist Church, "loved to sing" and was a good man.
Just an hour before the shooting, she said that she and Jacobs, who was her cousin, were talking about the July 4 fireworks used at his mother's home.
Jacobs, she said, had five children, four girls and a boy, ranging in age from 4 to 22. He enjoyed spending time with his daughters, and on July 4 they were together.
"He was a likable person who got along with everybody," Myhand said.
Mannigault, whom Jacobs would call "auntie," said her good friend always had "an encouraging word from the Bible" for someone and loved making people laugh.
"I saw him a week ago at his mother's home, and we were laughing and joking and having a good time," she said.
George Grimsley, Jacobs' uncle and a retired pastor from New Saint John Baptist Church, said his nephew turned his life around after getting in some trouble a few years ago.
"He was a good guy, very respectful, church-going and a happy-go-lucky guy," Grimsley said.
Grimsley said Jacobs' mother was taking the news hard and that he prayed with the family.
Throughout the day on Saturday, more people have come forward expressing shock and disbelief about Jacobs' death.
Released from the hospital Saturday afternoon, Jacobs' mother was still emotionally overcome with grief.
One of those distressed by Jacobs' death was Roosevelt Hunt, assistant pastor at Welcome Stranger Missionary Baptist Church. He said Jacobs was a "rising singer who had the potential of becoming a minister if he wanted to."
"He was loved by everyone, and will be truly missed," Hunt said.
Pastor James Pullings Sr., who grew up with Jacobs in Ocala, said he could count on one hand how many Sundays his friend had missed in the last year.
"He was always lively, knew how to work the crowd. That was his gift as a singer. What was unique about him was how kids gravitate toward him," Pullings said. If he had one word to describe Jacobs, he said, it was "heart, he had a big heart."
Pullings said there were three things Jacobs lived by: He loved God, his mother and his children.
Jacobs' cousin Rashundra Grimsley-Robinson and his aunt, Rosie Myhand, remembered a smiling and happy Jacobs on July 4.
"He said 'I just love my big family. I'm so happy to have my family,'" Grimsley-Robinson recalled.
Said Myhand, "He was the life of the party. He loved to laugh and barbecue. He called himself Mr. Chef."
Anyone with any information about the shooting can call Detective Stephanie McQuaig at 369-7029, Crime Line at 369-7061 or Crime Stoppers at 368-STOP, visit www.ocalacrimestoppers.com, or text "ocalapd" and a tip to TIP411.
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