Disgruntled Minority Massacre, 2006: Joe Jackson, "Inventor," Killed Three In Patent Attorney's Office
Print Friendly and PDF

A reader forwarded this, which didn't make national news that I can recall.

Letter reveals shooter's anger

By Tonya Maxwell, Tribune staff reporter.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE, December 12, 2006

Angry, misspelled words and rambling sentences, scrawled by the hand of the man who last week killed three and tore a downtown law firm apart with gunfire, sketch a rough-edged portrait of a frustrated, fragile mind that would eventually break.

Joe Jackson, a would-be inventor with a plan for a tractor-trailer toilet, believed a patent attorney had stolen his idea.

"I feel with no uncertainty that he sold or stole my project," Jackson wrote in a document dated February 2003. "He has destroy my life after he sign a confidenitally a vow of secrecy that he wouldn't betray me."

On Friday, consumed by his obsession, Jackson gunned down patent attorney Michael McKenna and two others on the 38th floor of a West Loop high-rise before he was shot and killed by police.

The sad motive behind a seemingly inexplicable tragedy comes clear in Jackson's words.

"I need help because I am very upset," he wrote. "I paid my hard earn money to a unmoral man. Pleased help me. He took this because of greed."[More]

Jackson, pictured above right, was apparently not very bright. He shot McKenna, pictured right, and three other white people, two of them fatally, because he thought that the lawyer had stolen his idea, which was very basic, limited, and unoriginal.

Material provided by Rev. C.L. Sparks, Jackson's pastor at New Pleasant Valley International Cathedral, includes Jackson's handwritten letter documenting his interaction with McKenna as well as a rough sketch—nothing more than a doodle—of the portable truck-cab toilet.

Survivors won a lot of money from the firm that provided security for the building because they'd seen Jackson looking suspicious and done nothing. (A  huge Catch-22: Jackson was a supicious looking black man in Chicago, and both federal and local Civil Rights enforcers would also have sued the company for rousting him.)

His pastor, Rev. C.L. Sparks, had accompanied him to the lawyer's office in the past.  [Family saw anger build, by Andrew L. Wang and Matt O'Connor, Chicago Tribune, December 11, 2006.]

The same pastor preached the funeral, in a way that seems to say Jackson was justified in his resentment.

As reported in a local black paper (or to put it another way, a neighborhood paper in an all-black neighborhood)

Bishop Sparks began his eulogy singing "God's Unchanging Hands." He said he appreciated Joe's family giving honor to the other families whose loved ones were lost and in no way is he trying to justify what happened. He told the family they did not know how Sunday after Sunday Jackson met the pastor at the altar and commented on how he could not find one lawyer to represent him in his claim against the patent attorney. Sparks asked where did this come from, what caused this type of fear Joe claimed?

"Today is liberation day," Sparks said. "Today is the day we put everything in the Lord's hand. There are some [questions] we can't answer. I went with Joe to the initial visit of the patent attorney. They were trying to say he was a Looney-Tune until we produced those documents. I've already been in touch with the attorney general's office, and Lisa Madigan called me herself and promised to get to the bottom of this matter."

Bishop Sparks said many will leave the services still wondering why. "Well, some stuff we just won't know until by and by. I want this family to know this will not be solved until we get to the bottom of it, and you need not be ashamed. We're going to pursue every effort because there are living family members left behind who want to know."

Sparks ending, saying, "We thank you, God, that you allow us to let his memory continue to flow in our lives. That we may remember him as a upstanding man, as a man who feared God, who walked in church every Sunday with his Bible. God, we ask you to forgive him his sins, his shortcomings and his ways. On Judgment Day, you know his heart and you know the situation. We asked that you be the wind beneath his family wings, and let them know that earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal."

None of the mainstream print or electronic media were present for the services and the photo used by the media did not look much like the person lying in state. Bishop Sparks cancelled the press conference he had scheduled for Dec. 18 and said he is awaiting legal counsel as this matter is further investigated.

Bishop Sparks remembers Joe Jackson | Man who killed three in law office is laid to rest, Austin Weekly,  December 20th, 2006.

And if you're wondering why you've never heard of this, well, (a) it doesn't fit the narrative, and (b) it happened in Chicago, which has for the entire 21st century (and parts of the previous century) had casualty levels comparable to a war zone.

Print Friendly and PDF