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What We've Learned About Events Prior To The Death Of Tony McDade

police cars are parked along the road of a brown apartment complex. A tree is in the background.
Ryan Dailey
TPD officers were at the scene of an officer involved shooting at Leon Arms apartment complex on Tallahassee's Southside just after 11 a.m. Wednesday.

More information is surfacing about what led to the deaths of two people near Holton Street, one killed by a stabbing and the other, shot by a police officer. The Tallahassee Police Department has identified 38-year-old Tony McDade as the person who was killed in the shooting and accused of stabbing 21-year-old Malik Jackson to death. McDade recorded a video the morning the incidents took place. In it, McDade recounts being jumped by a group of men and vows revenge.

“Just know before I kill myself through a shootout because that’s what’s going to happen. Cause I’m [going to] pull it out and you know these officers nowadays they see a gun they just [going to] shoot."
Tony McDade

Tony McDade's Facebook Live
Tony McDade's Facebook Live

"Just know before I kill myself through a shootout, because that’s what’s going to happen, because I’m [going to] pull it out and you know these officers nowadays they see a gun they just [going to] shoot," McDade said in a Facebook video recorded early Wednesday morning."So that’s what I’m pushing for, because I don’t want to be here on earth dealing with the government.”

In McDade's final Facebook video he refers to himself using both male and female pronouns. Some neighbors and friends WFSU interviewed referred to McDade using female pronouns. Close friends of McDade say he identified as a transgender man.

In the video posted hours before his death, McDade outlines his version of the events that led to him wanting to kill five men. McDade ultimately stabbed and killed one of them—Malik Jackson—before being killed by police.

A resident in Leon Arms Apartments who said she knew McDade showed WFSU the video. While she was skeptical of law enforcement and media attention she agreed to speak if WFSU only used her first name, April. She describes what happened.

“I just heard pow pow pow pow pow, so I’m like d— they shooting early in the day time, its day time they shooting," April said. "So by the time I came, my step-son, Zion told me, he say ‘they just killed somebody.'”

April says that’s when another friend showed her a video of what took place.

“My other homeboy came through and said, ‘April this the girl they killed.’ He showed me the video, cause he was there when this happened, he video recorded it," April said. "So when he showed me the girl, the picture of her, I said that’s Tony.”

April says she immediately went to Tony’s most recent Facebook post.

"She was talking about it on her Facebook--about whatever happened with her last night, about her getting jumped and all that. And then I seen her, she was showing the knots on her head and they scraped her arm," April said.

Tony's Last Facebook Post

“Somebody that I gave my loyalty to allowed her son and nephews to jump me," McDade said, in his own words.

According to the video, McDade says he had weapons and planned to fight one of the men, who asked McDade to put down his gun and knife for a fair fight. McDade says the fight started off as a one-on-one, but after he made an insult, four others joined in.

"When the first p— n— that drive the black Acura--the biggest of them all hit me, I said you hit like a girl," McDade said. "And then when I went to approach to complete the mission. That’s when the other p— hit me from the back.”

After showing his wounds off to the camera, elbow bloody and scraped, and two noticeable lumps on his head, McDade made a final warning to his attackers.

“It took five of you to kick and punch and have me on the ground in a fetal position. And I came out looking the same way I was before I went in that fetal position," McDade said. "But y’all know what, y'all aint gone look the same when them bullets touch your dome. And I’m posting this live," McDade said. "Warning comes before destruction. And I’m telling you five m— f— that you’re going to die.”

During a press conference Wednesday, following the shooting, Tallahassee Police Chief Lawrence Revell said officers were responding to a call about the stabbing death of Malik Jackson.

“The suspect description that was broadcast was a black female, (wearing) all black, bald, armed with a pistol and a knife,” Revell said.

The department says McDade aimed a gun at a responding police officer while the officer was in his car. The officer later shot and killed McDade.

McDade's friend April believes lethal force was unnecessary.

“They could have tased her. They aint have to shoot her that’s all," April said. "Whatever she did, they say she did, or she was doing, whatever that is I don’t know, but they aint have to kill her.”

In his Facebook video, McDade describes attempts at suicide and outlines a history of sexual and physical abuse. He served more than 10 years in prison for armed robbery before being released in January and was arrested early in May for threatening a person with a BB gun.

Mourning Malik

Photo of Malik Jackson surrounded by candles.
Blaise Gainey
Photo of Malik Jackson surrounded by candles.

The night after the deaths, family and friends held a candlelight vigil for Jackson. The 21-year-old was stabbed and killed by McDade. His aunt, Abigail Jackson, believes both her nephew and McDade would be alive today if help had been provided.

"If TPD would have done their job two lives would have been saved, meaning find the person that I called the police on," Jackson said. "And whether that person was locked up whether Baker Acted or incarcerated, that would have saved that person’s life and my nephew's life."

Jackson says she knows McDade’s mother and the two of them have spoken since the deaths. She says both families are grieving the loss of their loved ones. They’re hurt, Jackson says, from what they’ve seen on social media.

“What I can say is... the way that people post on Facebook and convict people without knowing the situation, and wait and let the police or whoever do their investigations, things would be much better," Jackson said. "My family is not a family of violence.”

Friends and neighbors in the community believe McDade suffered from a mental illness and believe if proper steps were taken he'd be alive today. WFSU News could not independently confirm those statements.

WFSU News made numerous attempts to reach out to family and friends of both McDade and Jackson. Some did not want to go on record but helped provide information on the lives of both people. Investigations into both their deaths are ongoing.

The shooting marks the third officer-involved shooting in Tallahassee this year.

If you, or someone you know is contemplating suicide, or if you feel you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. It is a free, 24-hour hotline, at 1.800.273.TALK (8255).

Blaise Gainey is a State Government Reporter for WFSU News. Blaise hails from Windermere, Florida. He graduated from The School of Journalism at the Florida A&M University. He formerly worked for The Florida Channel, WTXL-TV, and before graduating interned with WFSU News. He is excited to return to the newsroom. In his spare time he enjoys watching sports, Netflix, outdoor activities and anything involving his daughter.