Cops: FEMA Contractor Killed Hurricane Victim

Gerjuan Jackson assessed William Reiss' damage, learned of his guns
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 15, 2018 11:55 AM CST
Cops: FEMA Contractor Killed Hurricane Victim
This Sept. 7, 2017, GOES-16 satellite image shows the eye of Hurricane Irma, left.   (NOAA via AP)

He was a victim of Hurricane Irma, and then allegedly a victim of something much worse. Police say William Reiss, 68, was murdered on Jan. 3 by the FEMA contractor who compiled the damage estimate of his Polk County, Fla., home in September. The New York Daily News describes Reiss as having "befriended" Gerjuan Jackson. The two reportedly discussed Reiss' gun collection, and the 18-year-old Alabama man purchased two handguns from Reiss weeks after they met for $800. The Miami Herald reports Jackson lost possession of those guns during a subsequent marijuana bust and allegedly decided to replace them via Reiss' stash.

Police say he drove to the home with two accomplices who waited in the car. Jackson allegedly shot Reiss and his roommate Kenneth Maier, who initially managed to flag down help from his driveway but died of his injuries Friday, reports WFLA. Police say Jackson took roughly two dozen guns, a TV, and Reiss' truck, which was found burned in Alabama. He has reportedly confessed to the killings, and he and Kenley Campbell and Darril Rankin have all been charged with first-degree murder and other offenses. As for the FEMA connection, the agency says two private-sector companies provide the subcontractors who handle damage assessments, noting, "Questions about individuals employed within those contracted companies, or those companies' hiring practices, must be pursued through their individual contractors." (More murder stories.)

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