Jeffrey Jacobsen buckled his young sons into his sport utility vehicle and was about to drive away from the Timonium home he once shared with his estranged wife when he paused, the man's father recalled.
Jacobsen asked his father, who was sitting beside him, to tell his wife to come outside. He said he had a question for her.
As Jessica Jacobsen approached the vehicle, her husband quickly got out, shot his wife in the chest with a handgun and ran into the house, his father, Reginald Jacobsen, recalled yesterday.
"I was fearful," the elder Jacobsen said, "that he might have gone inside to reload the gun and try to shoot the boys and me."
The fatal shooting - and Jeffrey Jacobsen's subsequent suicide - was one of two deadly domestic violence incidents within about six hours Friday night and early Saturday in Baltimore County. Yesterday, police identified those involved in a fatal shooting and attempted suicide in Essex.
A review of court records showed that, as in the Timonium case, the alleged gunman had been ordered by a judge to stay away from the home where the shootings occurred.
In the incident in Essex, a 27-year-old man is accused by police of killing his former girlfriend's current boyfriend. Carl Eugene Locklear, who was on life support at a hospital after reportedly trying to kill himself, had been ordered to have no contact with his ex-girlfriend, records show.
Jessica Jacobsen, the Timonium woman killed in front of her two children, had obtained a court order in April directing her husband to stay away from her and their children, alleging that he had thrown her to the floor and choked her.
Gathann Meredith, Jessica Jacobsen's mother, said yesterday that she had worried since then that Jeffrey Jacobsen would try to kill her daughter.
"What good is a protective order if it doesn't protect anyone?" she asked.
Although protective orders do not prevent all acts of violence, studies have shown that victims who obtain them are more likely to stay safe than victims who do not seek legal protection from their abusers, said Dorothy Lennig, director of the domestic violence legal clinic at the House of Ruth.
Victims should also draw up a safety plan - changing locks, altering routes, warning neighbors and co-workers not to let the abuser near - in addition to obtaining a protective order, Lennig said.
Sharing child custody with an abuser can make a victim vulnerable to future attacks, Lennig said.
"When there's domestic violence involved, it's just not appropriate to make the woman have to deal with the abuser," she said.
In May, Jessica and Jeffrey Jacobsen agreed to the terms of an order, which directed Jeffrey Jacobsen to pay his estranged wife $2,600 a month in emergency family maintenance. The judge also granted Jeffrey Jacobsen supervised visits with his sons in the company of his father, mother or sister.
Meredith, Jessica Jacobsen's mother, said yesterday that she objected to the requirement that Jeffrey Jacobsen be accompanied by a relative rather than a trained professional when he picked up the children.
"That a person who has no special qualifications would have all this responsibility is unthinkable," she said.
A person who is the subject of a protective order is forbidden by federal and state law from owning or purchasing a firearm, Lennig said, adding that judges often tell abusers to relinquish firearms at court hearings.
It was unclear yesterday how Jeffrey Jacobsen or Locklear might have obtained guns. There was no record of either purchasing a regulated weapon, state police said yesterday.
In requesting a protective order in April against Locklear, his former girlfriend, 26-year-old Marissa A. Schott, noted that he owned two shotguns. Police said yesterday that Locklear shot Eugene George Rossmark, 28, of Bel Air several times with a handgun about 1 a.m. Saturday in the bedroom of Schott's home.
Schott had accused Locklear of lurking around her home early one morning in April as she returned from a night out and shoving her and yelling at her about their pending custody case. In May, they agreed to the terms of an order that directed him to stay away from her Essex home and her office in Towson and granted him visitation with their 7-year-old son every other weekend, court records show.
Locklear broke into Schott's home about 1 a.m. Saturday police said. Locklear shot himself after fatally shooting Rossmark, and was hospitalized and on life support yesterday, police said.
The Jacobsen children, ages 7 and 4, will be cared for by a maternal aunt and her husband who live nearby, Meredith said.
Jessica Jacobsen, an accountant with T. Rowe Price, met Jeffrey Jacobsen at a wedding. They were married in 1996, said her father, John Meredith, a Towson dentist.
Her parents said that they initially found Jeffrey Jacobsen charming but that he became antisocial after the couple's children were born.
"He was very controlling, very possessive of the children," John Meredith said.
Jeffrey Jacobsen had apparently tried to commit suicide twice, according to both the Merediths and his father. One of those attempts came in April, after he was accused of attacking his wife. The Merediths said their daughter had told him she wanted a divorce.
Jeffrey Jacobsen was troubled that he could not see his sons more often, his father said. He said he did not know how his son obtained the gun used in the shootings.
"I think it had to be a recent acquisition," he said, in a telephone interview from his South Carolina home.
He said he and his wife have traveled to Maryland on recent weekends to fulfill the court requirements for supervision when their son had visitation of his children.
Jeffrey Jacobsen, a project manager for IBM, had returned Thursday night from a business trip to Chicago, his father said.
Reginald Jacobsen said he arrived at his son's apartment about 4 p.m. Friday. During the 15-minute ride to pick up the children, Jacobsen and his father joked about the poor start to the season by the football team at the University of Michigan, Jeffrey Jacobsen's alma mater, Reginald Jacobsen recalled.
His son betrayed no signs that he was agitated.
When they arrived at the house in the 1900 block of Cranbourne Road, Jacobsen's two sons came out of the house with sleeping bags and clothes they had packed. He and Reginald Jacobsen loaded the bags in the trunk and buckled the children in the back seat.
Jeffrey Jacobsen started the engine and appeared ready to leave, Reginald Jacobsen recalled. But then he just sat there.
"It seemed like a long time, but I'm sure it was 10, 15 seconds at most," Reginald Jacobsen recalled. "And that's when he said, 'I need to talk to Jessica about soccer.' I think he made the decision right there in those final moments after he started the engine."
Reginald Jacobsen knocked on the door in the garage and told her Jeffrey wanted to ask her something. Moments later, out of the corner of his eye, he saw his son get out of the car and fire two shots.
His son spun around, ran into the house, and slammed the door.
"I looked at Jessica and I knew there was no first aid that I could provide," he said.
He said he jumped in the SUV and, with the children, drove off.
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