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Friend of Cedar Rapids man charged of shooting death of his family speaks

Updated: Jun. 17, 2021 at 5:31 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -A University of Iowa student is in a Linn County jail charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of his mom, dad and sister.

Matthew Meppelink to a friend of Alexander Jackson’s, who said the two were playing video games the night before police discovered the bodies of his family members.

Tuesday morning police say Jackson called authorities and said a masked intruder shot him and his dad. Police found the bodies of the father, Jan, mother, Melissa and 19-year-old sister, Sabrina, in separate rooms of their home at 4414 Oak Leaf Court Northeast.

Alexander Jackson had a minor gunshot wound to his foot and blamed the shootings on the intruder. Police say there was no sign of forced entry, and the county prosecutor called the killings “execution.”

Jan Jackson (far left), Sabrina Jackson (second from left), Alexander Jackson (second from...
Jan Jackson (far left), Sabrina Jackson (second from left), Alexander Jackson (second from right), and Melissa Jackson (far right).(Courtesy Photo)

Alexander was an Eagle Scout. In 2017, when at the age of 16, he helped organize an event to paint some of the interior of the “Frankie House” in Cedar Rapids

Meppelink had nothing but good things to say about Alexander, saying he’s not the person you’d expect to kill his family.

“I’d like to believe someone I’ve known for 6 years or so, I just can’t imagine him doing anything like this,” Meppelink said. “I want to believe he’s telling the truth and he didn’t really do it, but right now it doesn’t really seem like that’s the case with everything that we’ve seen.”

He says Alexander never spoke to him about any family issues, but police say Alexander admitted that his father had recently told him to get a job or move out.

In a statement, Save CR Heritage said:

Save CR Heritage was saddened to learn of the tragic shooting deaths of three members of the Jackson family this week in Cedar Rapids.

Alex Jackson, his parents, Jan and Melissa Jackson, and his younger sister, Sabrina, all helped in an Eagle Scout project Alex led in 2017 to help paint an older home our nonprofit organization saved from demolition to serve as affordable housing.

The Jacksons were among dozens of individuals and groups to volunteer in this effort, and while their time spent on the project was short, our interaction with the family was entirely positive.

Our thoughts are with friends and relatives of the Jacksons, Kennedy High School and the entire community during this heartbreaking time.

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