Off-duty cop shoots unarmed driver after minor collision; family says it ‘doesn’t add up’

Mathew Jackson (Source: Patrick Jackson / KENS 5)
Mathew Jackson (Source: Patrick Jackson / KENS 5)
Mathew Jackson (Source: Patrick Jackson / KENS 5)

SAN ANTONIO, TX — A family says things are “not adding up” after their loved one was shot on the side of the road after an altercation in traffic.  The shooter was an off-duty sheriff’s deputy, and witnesses say that they saw the deceased man’s body still in the driver’s seat after being shot in the chest.   The family says the shooter was given preferential treatment because of his employment with the sheriff’s department.

Mathew Jackson, 29, and off-duty Bexar County deputy Anthony L. Thomas, 38, were involved in a traffic incident on the morning of Saturday, August 31, 2013.   The two had “bumped side mirrors,” causing them both to pull over to the side of the road.  Both men were headed home from their jobs.  Jackson worked as a waiter and Thomas worked as a security guard.

Mathew Jackson (Source:
Mathew Jackson (Source:

While on the side of the road, an “altercation” followed, according to investigators.  Thomas’ vehicle was parked in front of Jackson’s.  Details remain unclear, but the encounter ended with Thomas shooting eight shots at Jackson, hitting him fatally in the chest.

The deputy’s account says that he “pulled his weapon when he saw something in (Jackson’s) hand.”

“Whatever incident occurred that made them pull over, I don’t understand what would have made them angry enough in a mile or two for this to escalate like that,” said Patrick Jackson, the victim’s brother.

It is not known if Thomas identified himself as a deputy before the shooting.

After Mathew Jackson did not return home from work, his family began looking for him.  Jackson’s wife and brother said they drove by the scene separately around 7 a.m. looking for Mathew.  Each of them said they witnessed his body laying in the front seat of his car, with his left foot on the ground.  He apparently was shot while sitting in his own vehicle.  His body remained covered in a tarp hours after the shooting.

“The view was open,” Patrick Jackson said to News 4 Antonio. “So as I drove past on the road, I looked over and I saw the tarp over my brother with his foot hanging out of the car still. And I knew what had happened, but I couldn’t share that with Erica at the time.”

Deputy Anthony Thomas (Source: Bexar County Sheriff's Office)
Deputy Anthony Thomas (Source: Bexar County Sheriff’s Office)

Jackson was unarmed.  He was found with only a pen and a napkin in his pockets.  It is unclear what threat he posed to Thomas, if any, to provoke multiple shots being fired.

“Please keep asking questions. This is not adding up,” Patrick Jackson told KENS 5.

Thomas — a 16-year-veteran in the department — was not given a field sobriety test after the shooting and the Jackson family is crying foul.  They are petitioning Sheriff Susan Pamerleau to provide answers.

While waiting at the scene of the shooting for answers, Jackson’s brother was told by a deputy, “Well, we’re probably going to find a weapon in there,” referring to his Mathew’s car.  His family says police are looking in the wrong direction.

“It seems like the investigation started off completely wrong and I hope she gets involved. I hope she cleans that up. I hope she helps us find the right answers and these missteps get corrected,” said Patrick Jackson.  “I want to know the truth and I gotta rely on them to find that.”

Jackson leaves behind a wife and a 2 year old son, whom his brother says were his main focus in life.

Thomas was given 10 paid days off and then came back to work on “administrative duty,” according to Express News.

“We aren’t getting answers,” Patrick Jackson said. “And the answers we are getting are misleading.”

Was this a case of road rage that ended in tragedy?  Would police have handled this situation if the shooter had not been a deputy?  Help the Jackson family demand answers by signing the petition below.

* * * * *

UPDATE:  Deputy Anthony Thomas indicted for murder

Deputy Thomas remained working at the sheriff’s department for 5 months following the shooting.  Finally in February 2014, the case was put in front of a grand jury.  The jurors made the decision to indict Thomas on murder charges.

Thomas’s claims that Jackson got out and ran towards Thomas’ vehicle. Thomas reported that he saw him “holding something ‘shiny’ and then heard what he believed was a gunshot.”

The off-duty deputy opened fire, shooting 8 times.  Jackson was struck in the chest, and staggered back to his car and collapse in the driver’s seat, where he died.

It is unclear whether the alleged preferential treatment that Thomas received at the scene (such as not being checked for alcohol) will have an effect on the outcome of the case.

A murder conviction could result in sentence of life in prison.


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To help the Jackson family demand answers for the shooting of Mathew Jackson, speak up at the places below:

Petition: Justify the shooting of Mathew Jackson

Facebook Support Page: Justice for Mathew Jackson

Bexar County Sheriff’s Department
Phone: (210) 335-6010
Department Feedback Page:  Citizen Comments
Facebook:  Bexar County Sheriff’s Office

Bexar County District Attorney
Phone: (210) 335-2311

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