A former teacher at Lakewood High School reportedly shot a man found having sex with his wife at their residence early Wednesday, according to an arrest document.
The Tampa Bay Times disclosed that Jacob Woodside Merrett, 35, was apprehended by St. Petersburg police on charges of attempted first-degree murder following an incident where he shot an individual inside his residence on the 600 block of 64th Avenue South. Authorities stated that Merrett and the individual were acquainted, but further specifics were not disclosed.
On Thursday, a police representative reported that they transported the injured man to a nearby medical facility, where reports indicate he is in critical but stable condition.
An arrest affidavit unveiled on Thursday includes accounts leading to the shooting incident, according to law enforcement.
Merrett’s wife informed authorities that she and Merrett maintained an open relationship and that approximately a week before the shooting, Merrett expressed his disapproval of her interaction with the individual, as per the report.
Shooters wife provides more details
Merrett’s wife recounted to the police that on Wednesday evening, Merrett came across a text message from the individual on her mobile device and demanded to view it. Merrett’s wife declined, leading to an argument during which Merrett exited the residence, according to the affidavit.
Upon Merrett’s return later, his wife, fearing for her safety, refused him entry into the residence, and they agreed that he would depart for the night, per the affidavit. Subsequently, after Merrett left, the individual arrived, and they proceeded to the master bedroom to engage in intimate activity.
At that juncture, Merrett entered the residence and contacted 911 to report a purported assault on his wife. He subsequently fired multiple shots at the individual with a semi-automatic firearm, claiming no acquaintance with him, according to the affidavit.
The affidavit contends that Merrett “entered the premises with knowledge of (his wife’s) relationship with the individual and inflicted multiple potentially fatal injuries upon him.”
The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office concealed the victim’s identity in the affidavit released on Thursday. According to a police spokesperson, the St. Petersburg Police Department disclosed a substantially redacted version to the Times on Wednesday, citing an ongoing inquiry for the redactions.
Records indicate that authorities held Merrett without bail at the Pinellas County Jail on Thursday.
More information about the shooter
On Wednesday, a spokesperson from Pinellas County Schools informed the Times that the district recruited Merrett in 2011 and he departed in October 2022. The spokesperson added that he served as an assistant principal at Disston Academy for Progress and Enterprise in Gulfport during his tenure, and the district terminated him from that role during his probationary period.
Merrett’s personal website highlights his stint as a music instructor at Lakewood High School, where he also chaired the performing arts department for over a decade. The site notes Merrett’s diverse offerings in music, education, and operational aspects.
Merrett’s Facebook profile indicates his role as a “program manager” at the BLI Institute in Pinellas Park, while the institute’s website lists him as a “high school teacher/music director.” A representative from the BLI Institute mentioned that Merrett departed from the institute roughly two months ago and that the website required updating, declining further details over the phone on Wednesday.