FEMA contractor, two others charged with killing Polk gun collector

Up to 31 guns stolen after gun collector murdered in Polk City home

POLK CITY, Fla. -- A FEMA contractor is in jail, accused of killing a man he was supposed to be helping.

Polk County sheriff's detectives arrested Gerjuan Jackson and two of his friends for allegedly murdering a gun collector in Polk City last week.

The detectives said the suspects drove all the way from Alabama, months after Jackson met the man, to rob and kill Bill Reiss.

The arrests provide some answers for Reiss’ family.

“I'm grateful that they were caught, and we can just start to mourn my dad,” said Katrina Urso, his daughter.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said Reiss had met his killer before, but he barely knew him. Investigators said FEMA hired Gerjuan Jackson through a contractor to do damage assessment after Hurricane Irma.

“Certainly, Gerjuan was an aberration,” Judd said. “I mean, most of the FEMA people that came here were honest people trying to help.”

Judd said Jackson saw Reiss collected guns. He even bought two of them before heading back home to Alabama.

That's when the sheriff said Jackson devised a plan: He and two friends would drive from Mobile to Polk City to steal the rest of the guns. There were at least 30 in the home, according to investigators.

Judd said they drove up in a Chevy sedan, Reiss let Jackson in, then he shot and killed Reiss.

“He said he shot him once and noticed that he was suffering, so he continued to shoot him, because he didn't want him to suffer,” Judd said.

Detectives said Jackson also shot Reiss' friend Kenneth Maier. He's fighting for his life.

They tracked down the three men in Alabama and found Reiss' stolen truck torched. Investigators said the men admitted to selling all but a few of the two dozen or so guns they stole.

Judd said Jackson didn't have a serious criminal history, so it wouldn’t have been a concern for FEMA.

“I don't know if that was available to them, but even if they'd have seen it, it was like, no big deal,” Judd explained.

Reiss' family never could've imagined someone who was supposed to help him would do the opposite.

“A lot of information to process, but it's awful,” Urso said, fighting back tears.

Detectives don't know if Jackson or the two other men robbed anyone else along the way.

We reached out to FEMA for information about Jackson and his hiring. A spokesperson responded with a statement.

"FEMA's Inspection Services are handled by contracted firms, and not FEMA employees,” it said, continuing, “FEMA works closely with law enforcement on a regular basis, and will provide appropriate coordination with law enforcement on this incident."

10News also reached out to the contractor detectives said hired Jackson, Vanguard Emergency Management, but we have yet to hear back from them.

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