Parents of slain 22-year-old speak out

Police: Man shot, killed while driving by suspect's house

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The parents of a 22-year-old man shot and killed in his truck Tuesday night in the Fort Caroline area are speaking out.

Jacksonville police said Kenneth Stephen Jackson Jr. was found dead in his truck after 29-year-old Terrance Sopenasky shot him while he drove by.

Jackson picked up a couple of friends and drove over in his pickup truck and passed by Sopenasky's house once as he stood in the driveway and beeped his horn, police said. They said the trio turned around in a cul-de-sac and came back, and as they passed a second time, Sopenasky (pictured below) started shooting.

Jackson's parents, Angie and Kenny Jackson, said their son has been made out on social media sites to be a bad person, and they want to clear his name.

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office booking photo of Terrance Sopenasky
Jacksonville Sheriff's Office booking photo of Terrance Sopenasky

They said Jackson didn't want any trouble, and that the situation that unraveled Tuesday night was taken way too far, and it's broken their hearts.

"He was my firstborn," Angie said. "I had him April 29, 1991. He was 9 pounds, a healthy boy. As he grew, he liked to lift weights. My husband's always been into bodybuilding, so he always taught the kids young. We eat properly, we exercised. It was a senseless act. He's gone now."

The Jacksons said the loss of their child hasn't fully sunken in. Angie said she still wakes up thinking it's just a bad dream. Kenny said he hasn't slept in days.

"I told my husband I feel like just dying with him. He was my heart," Angie said. "I feel like my heart has just been ripped out of my chest. What do I do? There's nothing I can do. He's gone. All I've got is memories."

Like Jackson's love for dirt bike racing, his dad said he was the fastest in the family. His parents said his life was cut short by a senseless act of violence.

"I think just stupidity, somebody with a weapon that shouldn't have been given a weapon, is just stupidity," Angie said.

The family said they didn't see this coming. They knew Sopenasky and their son had been at odds for a while, partly because of the breakup between Sopenasky's sister and Jackson, but they never expected it to come to this.

"No one wants to lose their child," Angie said. "This could have been easily talked out. No one had to pull weapons and do all this mass destruction. It's terrible."

Sunday will be the first time the Jacksons see their son since the shooting.

"To see your son laying in a casket is going to be, I don't even want to think about it," Kenny said. "The only comfort we have is knowing that he'll stay behind bars for the rest of his life. What else can you ask for?"

"We got an angel now that's watching over us," Angie said.

The Jacksons said the other two men who were in the truck are still traumatized by what happened.

A viewing for Jackson will be held from 5-7 p.m. Sunday at Corey-Kerlin Funeral Home. His funeral will be at noon Monday at Arlington Cemetery.