Authorities in Connecticut have launched an investigation into the death of a well-known pastor a police officer struck and killed. According to the Stamford Advocate, the July 26 incident occurred around the Rev. Tommie Jackson’s home in Wire Mill Road, Stamford.
Authorities said Stamford Police Officer Zachary Lockwood fatally struck Jackson as he was crossing the road after accessing his mailbox, adding that the officer had activated the police lights and was responding to a call at the time.
“Upon observing Jackson, Lockwood made an evasive steering maneuver, entering into the westbound lane,” the state police report stated. After hitting Jackson, Lockwood administered CPR on Jackson until medics responded, said Chief Timothy Shaw in a press release.
Police also said the 69-year-old pastor was later pronounced dead after he was taken to a hospital. Connecticut State Police Lt. Katharine Cummings on Friday said Lockwood, 24, has since been placed on paid administrative leave and is being given peer support “as is a customary protocol for this type of incident.”
The deceased pastor was with the Rehoboth Fellowship Church and Faith Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church and also served as the city’s assistant director of the Urban Redevelopment Commission. His wife is also a city police commissioner, per Stamford Advocate.
“All of us want answers as to what occurred this week,” Shaw said during a news conference on Friday. “I know that the expertise of the state police major crimes and collision reconstruction teams will result in answers to our questions. As we grieve the death of Rev. Jackson, I asked our residents to be patient as the investigation continues. I know that these types of investigations may take time, and I know that all of us look forward to learning about how events unfolded.”
Mayor Caroline Simmons at the news conference also said Jackson“was a larger-than-life figure, someone who had an indelible impact on our community and someone who touched the lives of so many through his lifelong commitment to faith and public service.”
“We’re all mourning together, and I know I’m going to greatly miss his infectious smile, his energy, his wonderful sense of humor,” Simmons added.
Following the fatal incident, the deceased pastor’s family attorney, Darnell Crosland, said his investigation suggested Lockwood “possibly was distracted at the time of the accident” – though he’s yet to view the video, CBS News reported.
“If in fact he was distracted, if in fact we find out more evidence that leads us to believe that he was at fault, more than an accident, then I’m not sure why we would dim the lights on the focus, which is the victim, which is Reverend Dr. Jackson,” Crosland said.
“How do you hit an adult, that’s big and tall and strong, and kill them like that?” Pastor Herlene Streeter said. “I wanna know what really happened.”