Family and Friends describe Clifton Jackson III as a very driven person. He wanted nothing but the best for his family.
All of which makes his murder on Sunday even more heartbreaking to the people he knew and cared about the most.
Jackson recently began working alongside his cousin, Rhonda Pride, to help launch a travel company. Pride works as the director of PlanNet Marketing. She described Jackson as a very humble man that was eager to learn to become a successful business owner.
“I saw the eagerness that he wanted to change. He expressed to me that he had a four-year-old son and a daughter on the way and that he wanted to be successful for his family. He was genuine,” Pride explained. “He said, ‘I don’t want to go work for somebody. I want to be my own boss. I want to be able to take care of my mom, my family, and my kids (because) they depend on me.’ That was Clifton.”
In a Sept. 16 text message to Pride, Jackson shared his excitement for the future but knew there would be a lot of hard work to make it happen.
“I am excited about the progress that is being made in multiple areas of my life. My life is I don’t have a choice. So I have to grind to succeed, have faith and hope and conquer every situation and emotion that others can’t handle. Or we will never make an attempt to conquer,” Jackson wrote. “I truly study and believe the Bible. We already have the victory. It is up to you to believe it or not.”
According to Waxahachie Police Lt. Todd Woodruff, officers were dispatched at 4:53 p.m. on Sunday to the 100 block of Frierson Street. Jackson's fiancé phoned 9-1-1 when she became alarmed after several attempts to reach him.
After sweeping the area near the home, responding officers found Jackson dead inside the home of an apparent gunshot wound.
Waxahachie Police are still conducting interviews and following leads.
“We have interviewed several people, and from those interviews, we have developed some more names of persons that we would like to speak with, but some of these people have been hard to find,” said Woodruff on Thursday. “We are looking at the possibility that there might have been some drugs involved and that there might have been some drug activity at the residence.”
Woodruff said substances collected at the scene are to be tested by the Texas Department of Public Safety crime lab.
A timeframe of when the murder took place has not been determined yet, as there was no call reporting gunfire. Police believe that the crime did not take place on Saturday but possibility around noon on Sunday.
David Snell, another of Jackson's cousins, echoed Pride’s feelings about the man with a love of people and a drive that motivated him to succeed.
“Clifton was a giver. He had a great heart from what I knew of him. He is almost a duplication of his dad. His dad is a great man – a soft-spoken, don’t bother anybody type of guy. He would give you the shirt off his back. Clifton III was pretty much like his dad.” Snell shared.
“I talked to Clifton III maybe a month and a half ago. When we first talked, he said ‘man this is something that I want everyone to be a part of it. This is an awesome opportunity — to be your own boss.' He was so passionate about it that he was emotional.”
Snell stated that he heard about Jackson’s death as he was coming back from Palestine from a visit with his mother-in-law on Sunday. After confirming the news with other family members he “couldn’t understand how or why” it happened.
He shared that his faith has kept him strong and notes that whatever is done in the dark is going to come to light.
Snell added, “let God do his work, and God will guide the footsteps of the police department to take care of things.”
Pride stated that when she heard the news about Jackson’s death, it was a shock.
“I don’t think that it has stopped hitting me yet. I am used to him texting and calling. It is surreal because who would want to harm him? He would have given the shirt off his back even if he didn’t have it,” Pride recalled. “I just can’t fathom someone wanting to do something to him. He wouldn’t hurt anybody.”
Pride stated that Jackson’s murder was a senseless act and encouraged members of the public who have information to come forward.
“I have talked to a lot of people from Waxahachie and that was a tremendous loss. He was the type of person that would walk to the store for the elderly. If someone said they were hungry, he would make sure they would eat. He never thought of himself first,” Pride recalled. “I would like for people to understand that this was a senseless death. He didn’t have anything for people to take from him. To harm him would just crazy to me.”
Others have expressed their grief about the loss of Jackson and the impact he made in the community via social media.
“When you listen to Big Jack Clifton Jackson III constantly talk about how he's trying to change his life (because) God is blessing him with kids then hear that someone took his life and he'll never get to see his kids grow up is beyond sad.... Just unbelievable! Prayers for my aunt and uncle,” Ashley Gibbons posted on Facebook.
Jackson’s friend Jamel Melo Allen Sr. also took to Facebook to encourage those with information to come forward.
“To do what was done to Clifton Jackson you have to be a heartless individual. You took one of the 'good guys,' Allen posted. "Still having a hard time believing he gone. Somebody knows something. #SpeakUp.”
Charles Chapman posted a photo of Jackson on Facebook that stated “The Wings of an entrepreneur Clifton Jackson. Rest easy Big Jack.”
People who have information about Jackson’s murder can contact the Waxahachie Police Department at 469-309-4400. The department is located at 216 N. College St. in downtown Waxahachie. If people have information but would like to remain anonymous, please contact Crime Stoppers of Ellis County at 972-937-7297. Crimes Stoppers pays cash for tips that help lead to an arrest.
Follow Andrew on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AndrewBrancaWDL or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/AndrewBrancaWNI. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 469-517-1451.