03/30/2015 10:48 am ET Updated May 30, 2015

Missouri State Auditor's Aide Dead In Apparent Suicide

(Adds comment from GOP leader)

By Carey Gillam

March 30 (Reuters) - Less than a month after Missouri's state auditor killed himself, one of the official's top aides has also been found dead in what appears to be a suicide, police said Monday.

Robert "Spence" Jackson, 45, was found dead Sunday evening in the bedroom of his apartment in Jefferson City, apparently having killed himself with a gun, Jefferson City police said in a statement.

Jackson was a veteran of Republican state politics and at the time of his death was embroiled in in-party fighting, having called for the resignation of the party's state chairman.

His apparent suicide comes less than a month after his boss,

Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich, also shot himself to death at his home in suburban St. Louis.

Schweich, 54, had been re-elected in November after serving for four years and announced in January that he would seek his party's nomination for governor.

His death on Feb. 26 came after he had complained about the tactics of rival Republicans in the primary campaign. Jackson had been quoted in Missouri press reports specifically calling for Missouri Republican Party Chairman John Hancock to step down.

On Monday, Republican party executive director Jonathon Prouty said the party leadership is saddened by Jackson's "tragic death" and called him "an aggressive and successful communicator."

Prouty said Hancock had tweeted his condolences.

"Tragic news this morning. My heart goes out to Spence Jackson's friends and family. Very, very sad," the tweet from Hancock's twitter account said.

Police said they were still investigating the circumstances of Jackson's death. An autopsy is planned for Monday.

A spokeswoman at the Missouri State Auditor's office said the office had no comment about Jackson's death.

(Reporting by Carey Gillam in Kansas City, Mo; Editing by Lisa Lambert)



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