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.