‘You should not be a free man in our society’: Mom gives emotional testimony after 4-year-old girl injured in suspected Tampa road rage shooting

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — James Jackson, 34 is accused of shooting into a car and hitting a 4-year-old child in a road rage incident on Jan. 29.

Tampa police arrested Jackson after a brief chase and located the weapon used in the shooting, which had been thrown from his car. Spent shell casings matched the bullets fired during the incident.

On Tuesday, the child’s mother, Keinesia Gillette, gave an emotional testimony during Jackson’s pre-trial detention hearing, telling a Hillsborough County judge the incident started innocently enough when she tried to merge in front of Jackson’s car.

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“I went up and I merged in front of the Kia,” Gillette recalled, saying it soon became apparent her simple move had enraged Jackson.

“He definitely was mad, it’s like he tried to hit my car and I ignored it,” Gillette added.

Source: Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office
Source: Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office

She told the judge that she turned a corner and tried to get away from Jackson, but he followed her and pulled out a gun, firing through the passenger side window of his car.

“I stopped, my music was playing but all I heard was pop, pop, pop, pop,” said Gillette.

She said there is no doubt the man firing the shots is the same man arrested by police and the same man sitting in court.

“I looked dead at him and he had a gun, dead out the window and looked at me and shot some more times, after I yelled and said my kids were in the car,” said Gillette.

She said Jackson ignored her and kept firing.

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“We made eye contact while he was holding the gun out the window while he shot some more times and I was trying to get out the car so he could just shoot me and not shoot nobody else in the car,” said Gillette.

She soon became aware her 4-year-old daughter had been hit by the gunfire.

“So, I pulled her jacket up and all I saw was blood and that’s when I went crazy,” said Gillette.

She said her daughter is now in constant pain because the bullet broke her leg and grazed her spine.

“She can’t move the way she moved before,” said Gillette.

Jackson is charged with attempted murder in this case. He has served time in prison before, after another attempted murder conviction.

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Judge Catherine Catlin looked at Jackson and told him there is no way to protect the community unless he’s locked up.

” I don’t know in what world Mr. Jackson, even if somebody cut you off and flipped you a bird, which I haven’t heard any evidence it happened that way. Even if it had happened that way, in what world does that justify pulling out a gun and shooting recklessly at a car, hitting a 4-year- old,” said Catlin. “You have no regard for human life or our community, you’ve established that through your past acts. Clearly everything has failed you, society has failed you, your family has failed you, the system has failed you because you have not been rehabilitated and you don’t care about laws.”

Catlin ordered Jackson to be held without bond.

“There is no way in this judge’s opinion, and I will not be your trial judge, that you should ever see the light of day again. You should not be a free man in our society,” said Catlin.

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