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Police say Manchester doctor in murder-suicide


MANCHESTER - Manchester V.A. Medical Center is offering counseling to its staff and patients after a "well-loved" doctor there allegedly killed his ex-wife's husband and then himself in Vermont last week.

Vermont State Police said Dr. John Jackson, 59, of Amherst went to the home of his former wife, Jeannie Peabody, in Peacham, Vt., last Wednesday morning. There, police said, he shot Mark Peabody, 50, twice in the chest after Peabody went outside to investigate a suspicious vehicle.

Jackson then entered the residence and shot himself in the head, according to a news release.

Police said Jeannie Peabody, 60, had called 911 around 7 a.m. on June 19, reporting a white van with New Jersey plates was on her lawn. Her husband had gone outside to confront the driver, and Mrs. Peabody told police she heard three gunshots.

The woman told police she had panicked and hidden in the basement, where she then heard someone walking above her. She fled to a neighbor's home to call police.

Officers from Vermont State Police and Caledonia County Sheriff's Department, including the state police Tactical Support Unit, responded to the scene of the shooting. Police found Mark Peabody dead outside the home near a white SUV with New Jersey plates, and a second man, later identified as Jackson, dead inside.

An autopsy indicated that both men died of gunshot wounds. State police said their investigation determined that Jackson had shot Peabody twice and then killed himself with a single gunshot to the head.

Stella Lareau, public affairs officer for Manchester V.A. Medical Center, said Jackson treated patients in the facility's urgent care clinic.

"He was well-loved and well-cared-about by our staff and the veterans he served," she said.

Lareau said counseling and support services will be available to staff members and patients who request them.

And she expressed condolences from the leadership and staff of the V.A. to Jackson's family.

"This is a very tragic event," she said. "Our first concern is for the family of Dr. Jackson, and our hearts go out to them during this difficult time."

Vermont State Police said their investigation revealed that Mrs. Peabody "had ongoing disagreements" with Jackson regarding child support payments "and pending court action."

Once the police investigation into the alleged murder-suicide is completed, the case will be turned over to the office of the Caledonia County state's attorney for review, police said.

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