EAST MILLCREEK, Utah (ABC 4 News) – The family of Russell “Rusty” Jacobs addressed the media today. Today they remember a man well loved by his family and community.
“He was a family man and loved his family very much. He was the type of guy that had a smile at all times. They loved to throw parties at their house and have the neighbors over. He was always great with the children and always making sure that they were well taken care of, and he was by Janet’s side, his wife side at all times,” said Rusty’s nephew Brian Stolk.
Today in a tearful press conference the family say Rusty was great to be around. He loved his family, his community, and was always there for anyone who needed help.
“He was part of the neighborhood service projects and go out and help children, or go to the neighbors house who needed trimming or trees cut down,” said Stolk
Rusty is survived by his wife Janet, their four kids, Shawn (30), Josh (18), Keava (32), and Julie (21), and four grandchildren.
“He was a great example for his children. He was always there for his wife, he was wonderful in the community,” said his cousin Lyne Miller.
They say the family was the life of the party, during the 4th of July celebrations people would gather at their home to watch fireworks, and they were the instigators for the annual neighborhood block party.
“Whenever we’d come over he’d have the swimming pool set up and volleyball net,” said his niece Kallie Stolk. “He was always making sure everyone was having a good time.
Early Friday afternoon Unified Police released more details about the case.
They say Rusty and his family – his wife and 18 year-old son – were woken up by around 2 a.m. with the sounds of someone trying to break into their home.
Rusty grabbed his .45 hand gun and went downstairs. When the noise stopped he, his wife and son went outside to check out the scene. Using a flashlight he did not see anything in the area, upon returning to the door he saw shoe prints on the door where someone was clearly trying to kick it down.
Concerned for his family’s safety he went upstairs, changed and grabbed his .357 revolver. He returned outside.
Several minutes later he noticed the suspect, 34 year-old Jesse Bruner begin walking towards him feigning an injured leg. Bruner having grown up in the area and known by many in the community, including Jacobs continued to approach. Knowing that Bruner was the one who had tried to kick in his door Rusty confronted the suspect.
Rusty, had knowledge of a string of burglaries in the area and that two homeless men were thought to be responsible. One of them was Bruner. Concerned for the community Rusty followed Bruner as he walked north pointing his flashlight at him.
Rusty said something to the effect that he knew who Bruner was. Bruner then turned around, said some words to Rusty and produced a sawed off shotgun from his side and shot at Rusty. The blast hit Rusty in the left hand and went into his chest. Rusty returned fire, shooting for shots, hitting him once in the arm and into his chest, two shots went through his clothing in the abdominal region but did not hit, and the fourth shot missed entirely.
The only witness to the incident was Rusty’s 18 year-old son, Josh.
Neighbors who heard the shots ran out to help. One was a doctor and immediately began triage on the two, but found that Bruner was already dead. Efforts took place to save Rusty’s life and Unified Fire Authority arrived quickly but were unable to save Rusty.
Police believe Rusty was acting out of concern for his own family and his neighbor’s safety when he followed Bruner away from his home.
Contrary to earlier reports, they do not believe a chase took place for the following reason. Police searched Bruner as part of the investigation. In addition to the shotgun, he was found to have two large butcher knives tucked in his pants, and a third smaller knife clipped to his pants. Police say the butcher knives were placed in a way and so large that he would not have been able to run without having cut or stabbed himself in the legs.
They say Bruner also attempted to reload his gun but was cut short when Rusty began firing back.
An account has been set up at Zion’s Bank under Russell Jacobs Donation. The money will go towards helping the family with any immediate needs as well as helping pay for the education of his children.