A mother shot by her boyfriend while protecting her three girls is alive because of what police are calling the heroic actions of an armed security guard and three strangers.
The shootout with the security guard and narrow escape led by the three strangers happened Sunday in Akron's Middlebury neighborhood. Police say the mother, who is in serious condition at an area hospital, was assailed then shot in the upper back by her ex-boyfriend, Akil Scott Jackson, 24, of Brewster Creek Road in Akron.
She was crouching over her three daughters, ages 1, 3 and 4, the youngest fathered by Jackson.
The couple never married, according to police. Jackson was arrested on a domestic violence charge at the woman’s Springfield Township home in March. He was court-ordered to stay away.
Instead, Jackson died at Summa Akron City Hospital after ending the wild, violent altercation Sunday with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. None of the children was physically harmed, police said.
The 23-year-old mother was walking with her girls and another woman and her child around 5 p.m. Sunday. Police and witnesses who phoned 911 said Jackson parked his red pickup truck near River Street between the Circle K gas station and Akron Fire Station No. 4, which is under construction.
A verbal and physical altercation ensued.
The security guard at the firehouse construction site, who identified himself to a 911 dispatcher as the owner of Typhon Security, got as close as he could to the ruckus on the street.
"I'm in a fenced-in area," the winded security guard later told a dispatcher. "At that point, I saw a weapon come out. A shot was fired. I immediately started to return fire."
The security guard couldn't tell if he struck Jackson, who appeared to be holding his side as he took off. The distraction, however, diverted Jackson’s attention from the mother, who was bleeding on the side of the street. The woman walking beside her with her own child fled to the nearby Circle K for safety.
Police say Jackson returned from his confrontation with the security guard to fire again at his ex-girlfriend, but his gun jammed.
Two men and a woman in passing cars rushed to help the bleeding mother. The two men wrestled with Jackson as a woman loaded the mother and her kids into the back of her PT Cruiser. Jackson racked a few rounds out of the jammed handgun and began firing again at the security guard, police said.
“The actions of the security guard and the three citizens saved her life and possibly her children,” Akron Police Lt. Rick Edwards said. “They are heroes in my book. [They] stepped up in a crisis without training against an armed suspect, then grabbed the female that was shot in the back and her children and drove to safety.”
As they pulled away, a frantic woman can be heard in the background of a 911 call placed by the female driver. "Where'd my kids go?” she asked.
"They're in the car," the caller said. "Don't move. Don't move. You're OK."
The driver had pulled away with her own boyfriend still at the scene, presumably wrestling with Jackson. She turned her focus to the backseat.
"This woman has been shot and all three of her kids are right here," the caller told the dispatcher. "The [shooter] is down there. My boyfriend is down there. She's been shot and she's bleeding out all over my car."
"OK, ma'am," the dispatcher said. "Where are you right now? ... I need you to stop so we can find you."
"I can't [stop]," the caller yelled. "He's chasing her and trying to kill her."
The call ended when the woman flagged down a responding police cruiser. A faint voice can be heard saying "thank you so much" as car doors open.
Back at the scene of the shooting, police say Jackson brandished a knife after his gun jammed. After wrestling with the two men, he grabbed his gun and ran southeast on River Street. Edwards said it's unlikely that the security guard, who suffered no injuries, would be charged for firing his gun toward Jackson on the street.
When police reached Jackson, who was headed in the direction of his ex-girlfriend, authorities said he put the gun to his head and fired one last round, ending a series of domestic violence incidents that began about a year ago, according to court records.
In March, Akron Municipal Court Judge Ann Marie O'Brien found Jackson guilty of aggravated menacing. Charges of assault and aggravated trespassing were dismissed. Jackson was given a $150 fine and sentenced to 180 days in the Summit County Jail, with 169 days suspended after being credited 11 days for time already spent.
Jackson had been ordered not to have contact with the female victim in that case. It's unclear if she is the same woman shot Sunday.
In May, Jackson also entered a guilty plea to a domestic violence incident that occurred on New Year's Eve. Summit County Common Pleas Judge Alison Breaux sentenced Jackson to two years' probation. In that case, Jackson listed his residence as Creston in Wayne County.
A year ago while listing his residence in Massillon, Jackson was charged and convicted of breaking and entering at a home on Charles Lane in Bath Township. He was sentenced to 15 months of probation.
Beacon Journal reporters Rick Armon and Stephanie Warsmith contributed to this report. Reach Doug Livingston at email@example.com or 330-996-3792.