Baltimore homicide victim was a 'free-spirited' father who liked to meditate, carried his guitar everywhere

Paul Jackson often carried his guitar, playing it everywhere.

The 33-year-old pursued dreams of becoming a musician, making music and uploading it to YouTube, said Diedre McDonald, who has a 3-year-old son with Jackson.

“He was free-spirited, super strong, fearless,” she said. “Whatever he wanted, he went and did it without any hesitation.”

But Jackson’s life ended recently as he walked to a family member’s house, McDonald said. Police said Jackson was fatally shot in the head around 7 p.m. Feb. 26. in the 3000 block of Mayfield Avenue in Northeast Baltimore. Medics took him to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead.

A police spokeswoman said a motive is unknown, and no arrests have been made.

McDonald, 30, who lives in Station North, said she is struggling with Jackson’s death. Though their son is only 3, McDonald said she felt it was easier to tell him what happened rather than waiting and explaining it to him when he’s older.

She said her son, who turns 4 in May, cries when he’s reminded of his father.

“My son wells up and cries. This is his first experience with death. It’s definitely something I have to deal with daily. I let him cry and give him a hug,” she said.

Although they were no longer a couple, she said she remains close with Jackson’s family. She also said Jackson has an older son and daughter from previous relationships.

“They’re managing. Everyone coming to terms with the fact that this vibrant spirit isn’t around anymore,” she said.

A funeral has been planned for Monday, March 12.

McDonald said Jackson posted a lot of his music online, which she described as “street” and reflected some of the violence around him.

Jackson has had previous run-ins with the law. He was arrested in the past for drug distribution charges, according to online court records. Most recently, he was charged assault in July, but the charges were dropped.

McDonald said Jackson regularly meditated and also encouraged kids in the neighborhood to do the same, instead of falling into violence.

McDonald said she hopes his death will discourage further violence, and “bring some light and understanding to the community.”

People have too much pride to talk now. They need to put the guns down,” she said.

Homicide detectives are asking anyone with information to call them at 410-396-2100 or Metro Crime Stoppers 1-866-7lockup or text a tip 443-902-4820.

jkanderson@baltsun.com

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