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Part IV – “The Life & Death of Jimmy Jackson.”

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“Hey, he’s getting robbed!”

Witness describes night young entrepreneur died at Jacksonville nightclub notorious for violence

February 28, 2013Filed under METRO Posted by
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Witness describes night young entrepreneur died at Jacksonville nightclub notorious for violence

Editor’s Note:  This is the fourth in series of stories framing the life of James Roland Jackson, III, known as “Jimmy” to his family.

BY PENNY DICKERSON SPECIAL TO THE FLORIDA COURIER

Adult entertainment and nighttime nudity continue to thrive despite a nationwide recession.

More than 15,000 employees rely on the industry for their livelihood, including strippers who balance their weight on five- to eight-inch heels while performing tricks on a pole. Male audiences are left mesmerized.

Despite protests and legislative attempts by evangelicals and conservative groups like NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) to bar their existence, adult entertainment remains the object of a man’s loose dollar bills and profitable subjects for a business estimated to gross more than $7 billion through the year 2017.

This sign is at the entrance of the Silver Fox in Jacksonville.(Photos byPENNY DICKERSON/SPECIAL TO THE FLORIDA COURIER)

This sign is at the entrance of the Silver Fox in Jacksonville. (Photos by PENNY DICKERSON/SPECIAL TO THE FLORIDA COURIER)

Companies in this industry operate adult entertainment venues in which striptease or other erotic or exotic dance is regularly performed for males, females or mixed audiences. Upscale establishments referred to as Gentlemen’s Clubs are distinct among businessmen and professional athletes and offer patrons appealing V.I.P. privileges.

Making a living

However, their urban counterparts like Jacksonville’s Silver Fox nightclub have the reputation of being establishments that can permeate violence as deadly as murder.

Shootings have become Silver Fox staples and the homicide death of Jimmy Jackson last year has reinforced the club’s status as a business that compromises the intent of patrons who seek mere satisfaction.

He was 26 years old when he was shot four times at the Silver Fox on June 2, 2012 at approximately 4 a.m. He died 10 days later at Shands Hospital Jacksonville.

Jackson was not at the club to illicit strippers nor was he believed to be drunk the evening he became another shooting victim at the Silver Fox.

He was content in his role for the evening – serving as road manager for Young Cash, a local artist signed to Tallahassee-based rap artist T-Pain. Both are a prodigy of the iconic South Florida-based rapper Flo Rida.

From dream to nightmare

Cash and his entourage rented the club for his birthday “after party.”

Jimmy Jackson was shot in the parking area of the Silver Fox on June 2, 2012.

Jimmy Jackson was shot in the parking area of the Silver Fox on June 2, 2012.

According to his friend and eyewitness Rodney Lamont English, a.k.a. Wood, “Jimmy arrived earlier in the evening to help set up and his white Camaro was later brought and parked by a friend. He was not from Jacksonville or familiar with the Silver Fox.”

An entrepreneur at heart, Jimmy established his own venture – Exclusive J – in hopes of becoming an independent music mogul who managed the careers of emerging artists. This was his dream.

A fascination for stardom attracted a mixed-gender crowd that surpassed capacity. The overflow parking area is an unlit backdrop for potential crime and in this patch of crumbled asphalt and grass, two Black males robbed Jimmy Jackson at gunpoint. Four bullets took him down.

The incident helps quantify the establishment’s growing reputation for criminal activity, including five incidents that involved discharging a firearm.

Blighted area

The Silver Fox nightclub is strategically located in the ruins of Jacksonville’s industrial blight. An area bustling with traffic and activity by day transforms into a desolate area of abandonment at night leaving few to notice activity – criminal or otherwise.

A cold storage freezer and farmer’s market sit east and west of the club. Both are flanked for miles by mechanic and scrap metal shops. Rows of fleet trucks and used tire garages are in comfortable proximity to a popular fried chicken franchise and the random presence of seafood shacks leave Florida’s southern air with a caustic stench.

Silver Fox clientele repeatedly ignore the surroundings, and for more than a decade, the windowless structure has maintained its pleasure-seeking appeal.

The club conforms with a 2005 law passed by the city of Jacksonville requiring fully nude establishments to be located in areas zoned heavy industrial.

Further, the law prohibited nude clubs from being within 500 feet of schools and churches and within 1,000 feet of homes. Partial nudity is featured at the Silver Fox.

Popular for stripper activity and parties, the Silver Fox is formally listed as a Bikini Club featuring Black dancers. Patrons are offered day and night covers of $2 and $5, respectively. Dance prices are listed as $10 with drinks for $2.50.

48 police calls

According to a Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO) public records report (2011-12), more than 48 “Calls for Service” resulted in police dispatch to the nightclub’s associative address on West Beaver Street. Calls range from noise violations, stabbings, and drunken fights. Discharging a firearm leads the list.

In a 2009 Florida Times Union feature titled, “Jacksonville Clubs keep an Eye out for Guns,” the Plush Nightclub, a popular mixed-crowd venue, was cited for 31 firearm incidents within 125 feet of its commercially zoned property. The records were released by JSO and covered a three-year period.

The Silver Foxx was runner up with 12; the gun violence is neither new nor ceasing. What does continue to change for the establishment is management.

Eyewitness account

A Youtube video dated June 21, 2012 promotes a “grand opening” for the Silver Fox, now spelled with a single X.  This celebratory debut and name change came eight days after Jimmy Jackson was declared dead at Shands Hospital.

“Jimmy had the biggest smile on his face and was just enjoying life that night,” reflected his friend, Rodney English. “I’ve witnessed three or four people getting shot there and each time it’s the same club, same spot, no lighting.”

One of a few cooperating witnesses, English further added that two JSO police officers were on either side of the crime scene, but were called to another location shortly before the crime against Jackson took place. “I was close enough to see two Black males in black T-shirts. They put on their seatbelts and drove away slow when I hollered, ‘Hey, he’s getting robbed!’” English added.

“A small handful of people saw the shooter(s),” offered Detective Bobby Bowers, lead homicide investigator charged with bringing justice. “All were heavily drinking. Panic ensued and most ducked or ran,” he added.

Tried to walk away

Jackson didn’t have a proclivity for conflict or contention. According to Bowers, he complied with the random robbery and tried to walk away when he was shot.

More perplexing to Jackson’s grieving family and friends is why the Silver Fox nightclub remains open for business.

The establishment’s owners would not comment at the time of this writing. A telephone request for a comment on Wednesday from a man who stated that he was the owner or manager yielded the following response: “No, we don’t wanna participate.’’

A civil suit against the Silver Fox has been filed on behalf of Jackson’s only surviving daughter, five-year-old Denia Jackson.

In part five of the series, an attorney from the Chestnut Firm along with lead homicide Detective Bobby Bowers will offer commentary and

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One comment on “Part IV – “The Life & Death of Jimmy Jackson.”

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