Deputies ID Lakeland homicide victim, release photos of possible suspect vehicle

LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is now calling a suspicious death at a Lakeland RV park a homicide. 

Deputies were called to the RV park around 7:30 p.m. on Christmas and found 59-year-old Russell Jackson dead inside his home on East Peachtree Street.

“Murder is horrible at any time of year, but to take a man’s life on Christmas Day is unfathomable,” Sheriff Grady Judd said. “We need the community’s help to identify this cold-blooded killer sooner rather than later, and put him behind bars.”

News Channel 8 spoke with neighbors who tell us Jackson was a good man who rarely got mad at anyone.

“I saw him yesterday morning,” said Ronald Donaldson, a friend of the victim. “It was fine. He didn’t seem agitated, or mad. It seemed like a normal day.”

Members of the neighborhood association, CARE, tell News Channel 8 the area is known for drug activity. They say, in recent years it has grown out of control, and violence often follows.

“I can’t just up and move. It is not that easy. A lot of people in this neighborhood rent. It has become a bad neighborhood, and the people that live here are very afraid,” said Roy Norris, the Vice President of CARE.

The sheriff’s office is now asking for the public’s help to find the person who killed Jackson.

Possible suspect vehicle.

Surveillance video taken near the scene shows a possible suspect vehicle that was in the area at the time. Deputies say it appears to be a dark green four-door station wagon.

Anyone who recognizes the vehicle or has any information about the homicide is asked to call the sheriff’s office.

Crime Stoppers is also offering a reward of up to $3,000 for information. Anyone who wants to remain anonymous and be eligible for the reward should call 1-800-226-TIPS.

The sheriff’s office says Jackson has a lengthy criminal history. He was most recently arrested in October 2017 for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

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