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Former Tokay High School football player arrested following assault

Yonnie Jackson captured after allegedly beating his wife outside a Stockton Walmart

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Yonnie Jackson

Posted: Thursday, August 18, 2011 7:09 pm | Updated: 6:51 am, Fri Aug 19, 2011.

Sacramento police arrested a man Thursday after a combined search by Stockton, Sacramento and Elk Grove police departments.

Officers were looking for Yonnie Jackson, 40, who was allegedly evading arrest after brutally beating his estranged wife, Sherry Jackson, outside a North Stockton Walmart on Monday.

Jackson was allegedly laying in wait for his wife, the principal of Peyton Elementary School in Stockton, outside the store and prompted a physical confrontation. The beating caused Sherry to fall unconscious, according to witnesses. At that point, Jackson attempted to place her inside his vehicle but was stopped at gunpoint by an off-duty park ranger and fled the scene, according to Stockton police.

Jackson has a history of domestic violence, for which he was arrested on a $2 million warrant. Among other incidences, Jackson allegedly set his wife's house on fire before the most recent incident. A separate warrant is out for his arrest charging him with arson.

"There's been a history here," said Stockton Police Public Information Officer Pete Smith, who added that his detectives reported incidences of stalking.

Stockton police issued an all points bulletin this evening with information describing Jackson, calling him armed and dangerous and encouraging those with information to come forward. Because Jackson has family in Utah and Washington, police said he may have been headed there. Tips led the force to search in Sacramento, where Jackson was apprehended.

The arrest occurred in a parking lot outside Sierra Vista Mental Hospital in the 8000 block of Bruceville Road in Sacramento. Stockton detectives located Jackson's dark blue Expedition in Sacramento and notified the city's police, according to Sergeant Norm Leong of the Sacramento Police Department.

A SWAT team and officers approached the vehicle, which had the engine running, but no one was immediately visible behind the tinted windows. After multiple commands to exit the vehicle, officers noticed there was a man inside on a cell phone. At approximately 6:15 p.m., Jackson exited the car and was arrested without incident.

Jackson has roots in the Lodi community. He graduated from Tokay High School in 1988 and was active in athletics. In football, Jackson had 27 catches for 448 yards and eight touchdowns in 1987. He was named the Tokay High Most Valuable Football Player in 1987 and the Tigers Male Athlete of the Year in 1988. He went on to play tight end at the University of Southern California from 1989 to 1992, where he caught 47 passes. Later, Jackson signed as a free agent to first the Washington Redskins in 1993 and then the St. Louis Rams in 1995. On both teams, he was waived before the start of the regular season.

Former Tokay football coach Jeff Tracy, who coached Jackson, said he was one of the school's best athletes ever, excelling in football, baseball and basketball.

Tracy said that Jackson served as an assistant football coach for one season about a decade ago, adding that Jackson was living in Galt at the time and studying to be a lawyer.

He said he was shocked and sad to hear the news on Thursday.

"It totally surprised me," Tracy said. "He always had a big smile and was the nicest guy; a class act. I always knew him as a gentleman. It was even hard to get him mad on the football field. I never saw him angry."

Tokay High football coach Louis Franklin says Jackson came out to a few practices in June, adding that former players are often invited to help out. Jackson was never a regular coach.

Franklin said that Jackson was dealing with some personal issues, and that he just let him have his space.

"In my interactions with him, he was always laughing, giggling, cracking jokes and keeping everyone loose," Franklin said.

Jackson faces charges for assault, arson, and attempted homicide.

Sports Editor Scott Howell contributed to this report.

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  • Steve Schmidt posted at 5:57 pm on Sat, Aug 20, 2011.

    Steve Schmidt Posts: 2238

    Why am I not surprised that this crime was committed at a Walmart?

  • Alex Whyte posted at 10:05 pm on Fri, Aug 19, 2011.

    Alex Whyte Posts: 3

    Guys, this article is much, much different than the original one paragraph blurb that was originally posted before he was arrested. It only mentioned his ties to Tokay in the title and quickly saying he played there and at USC. That article has now been expanded to include his accomplishments as an athlete and the fact that he was a former assistant coach. It makes much more sense now knowing he was athlete of the year, an assistant coach, helped out the team recently, etc.

  • Jay Samone posted at 9:33 am on Fri, Aug 19, 2011.

    Jay Samone Posts: 359

    Alex - please stop being a troll. There was nothing disparaging about Tokay High in this article. In fact, his record in Tokay Football is extremely noteworthy - most local people will only remember him because of his football career here and no other player has accomplished what he has since then. There is far more positive info here than what has been reported all over the news (KCRA) and the Stockton Record.

    Personally - I went to school with Yonnie and he was in no way a "class act" back then so whatever personality of his that Coach Tracy saw was entirely different than those of us saw off the field. Either way - Yonnie is in serious need of mental health help during his incarceration - this man is very unstable and there's no telling what he'll do in jail......

  • Bob Smith posted at 4:22 am on Fri, Aug 19, 2011.

    Bob Smith Posts: 128

    I graduated from Tokay, I didn't find it disparaging at all. The only reason I read the article was because of the Tokay connection, which I found relevant. It told me that a good school had produced an athlete of potential, this guy had opportunities and was the pride of Tokay. Then he went and blew it, not Tokay's fault and nothing was said about it being Tokay's fault.
    For his actions at Tokay he is a minor celebrity, and we all know when a celebrity makes the news we're going to hear about it.
    A few years back a former Lodi High class president (~ 1973) was sentenced for some type of real estate/loan fraud or something of that nature. It only gained local attention because of his Lodi High connection, you didn't hear Lodi High alumni getting all up in arms because of the mention.

  • Alex Whyte posted at 10:40 pm on Thu, Aug 18, 2011.

    Alex Whyte Posts: 3

    I went to Tokay and love the fact that I did. I'll bleed purple and gold until the day I die. I just do not see what high school every other arrestee attended included in the other articles written by the LNS. For example, the paper did not publish what school Jeffery Kenneth Dobretz (felony DUI last weekend) went to. Had Jackson been a recent graduate or current student, yes I could see the relevance...but not as a 40 y/o. And I do understand the author wanting to put a local spin in the article to gain reads. However, the headline, "Former Tokay High football star sought for attempted murder," just seems to throw a great school and great football program under the bus solely to grab a reader's attention. Just my two cents upon seeing the title of the article on the website's homepage.

  • Alex Whyte posted at 8:07 pm on Thu, Aug 18, 2011.

    Alex Whyte Posts: 3

    Why is the fact that he is a Tokay alumnus relevant here? Just another reason for the LNS to show it's favoritism?



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