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Suspect arrested in Arlington auto theft, faces murder charge

ARLINGTON -- Police arrested a 26-year-old man Thursday in connection with the death of John Jackson Jr., a barbershop owner who died after trying to stop the theft of his 2001 Mercedes, according to authorities.

Edward Ryan Billy was arrested without incident about 2 p.m. at a residence in the 2200 block of Hoover Drive in north Arlington, police said. Billy faces a murder charge, with bail set at $1 million.

Billy is accused of dragging Jackson, 32, of Fort Worth, across the parking lot of the strip center near North Collins Street and Washington Drive shortly after 9 p.m. Wednesday.

Jackson tried to hold onto the steering wheel as the car entered North Collins but was injured when it struck another vehicle.

He was flown to a Dallas hospital where he died early Thursday.

Ronderick Franklin of Fort Worth, who described himself as longtime friend, said he had been one of Jackson's last customers Wednesday night at Changing Faces Barbershop, 2238 N. Collins St.

Franklin said he had left just before the incident, but it was his understanding that Jackson had closed the shop and had gone out to his car parked directly in front of the shop at 2238 N. Collins.

Franklin said it appeared that Jackson had started his car and had left it running while he went back into the shop for something.

That was when the would-be thief jumped into the drivers’ seat.

Franklin described Jackson as "a special guy."

"He was friendly and he was always there for you," said Franklin, 29, adding that he was "a little possessive" of his things.

Franklin said his friend was the father of three young children -- two girls and a son.

He had just opened the shop about two months ago after closing a similar shop on Ederville Road in Fort Worth.

Dawa Sherpa, manager of the Star Stop convenience store a few doors away, said the strip shopping area has had a few incidents of crime in the past year, but nothing serious.

At his shop, Sherpa said some kids broke a window recently and stole some cigarettes. One other time, someone tried to break in through an air-conditioning vent.

The thief abandoned the car several blocks away and fled on foot, Miller said.