By Nate Smith
Washington Times Herald
LOOGOOTEE — The wife of deceased shooter James D. Jones said he may not have been right mentally due to medication when he shot an Indiana State Police trooper last week.
In an exclusive with the Times Herald, Alice Jones said her husband was not a drifter as previously described, but a disabled man who was acting differently following a change in medication for his Alzheimer’s disease a month before.
“Yes, he had not been himself for the past month,” Alice Jones said.
She was so concerned that she called Jones’ mother to help the disabled man, who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s eight months ago, in addition to issues with chronic pancreatits, COPD and other ailments.
Alice Jones believes the medication or the Alzheimer’s created the instability in her husband.
"I just know the Alzheimer’s had something to do with it,” she said. “It can’t be proven, but he was just so out of character.”
Jones, 60, was killed following a shootout with Trooper Jarrod Lents at Black Oak Armaments on U.S. 50 near Montgomery on June 17. Lents was hit twice but did not receive any life-threatening injuries. He returned to duty this week.
Alice Jones went on to say her husband did not seem agitated or angry for any reason. The only thing that seemed odd, she said, was that on June 17 he had gone to run errands by himself.
“He never went anywhere without me,” she said. “It was unusual to go by himself.”
Jones and his wife moved to Loogootee from California in 2005, but he grew up in Missouri. Coincidentally, his father owned a gun store and he grew up around firearms.
His wife also said he had a license to carry firearms, but rarely ever did except for out-of-town appointments.
Before Jones’ disabilities, he was a professional photographer, creating studios for Montgomery Ward throughout the western half of the United States. He retired in 1995 due to his disabilities.
The two had divorced in 2008, according to court records, but reconciled a month later. The two were married almost 30 years, Alice Jones said, and he was never violent.
“He was pretty calm,” she said. “He was an ex-hippie and he was easy to get along with.”
That is why, she said, it was shock to hear he committed this act. Also a shock was to read reports that he was considered a “drifter.” She said that was far from the case. Also, Alice Jones said the report of an armed robbery that came from the state police is also misleading.
“He had money on him, quite a considerable amount,” she said. “Why would he want to rob a gun store when had a gun at home? It may have come through the 911 call. I don’t know.”
She also dismissed the notion that, through his medical ailments, he succeeded in a “suicide by cop” plan.
“He had high respect for (Loogootee Police Chief Kelly) Rayhill and police officers,” Alice Jones said.
“Everything was so out of character.”
The state police interviewed Alice Jones that evening, she said, and she is waiting to hear if she can have some of her husband’s belongings back, including the cash he had on him at the time.
According to the state police earlier this week, the investigation into the shootin0g should be finished and then sent to a prosecutor for review. State police policy prohibits the department from releasing case reports and narratives.
Alice Jones believes the reason behind her husband’s actions may never be known.
“We are never going to know the exact truth,” she said. “It is a tragedy we may never know the answer to.”
A memorial service for Jones was held Friday at Hickory Ridge Friendship Methodist Church in Shoals. Family members from out of state attended.