The man killed on the job in Old Town Alexandria on Friday is being remembered as a friendly presence who was often spotted riding his bike.
Bradford Jackson was found dead around noon Friday in a second-floor business on busy King Street. He was 65. The man charged in his murder is 34-year-old Pankaj Bhasin, of New Jersey. Investigators believe the men were strangers.
On Monday, someone left a card and flowers outside Window Universe, the business in the 1200 block of King Street where Jackson was killed.
Jackson often rode his beach cruiser bike around Old Town.
His friend Boyd Walker said he couldn't believe what had happened.
"He was a man-about-town — the kind of guy who said hello to everyone on the street," Walker said.
"Brad didn't have any enemies. Brad was a carefree, loving person," Jackson's friend Christian Myers said.
Jackson used to work on the Potomac River excursion boat The Dandy. Then, he took a job as marketing manager at Window Universe.
News4 learned new details Monday on how people in the area found Jackson's body and helped police catch the suspect.
Before Jackson's body was found, Bhasin left Window Universe and jumped into a silver Mercedes parked on King Street, witnesses said. The driver had just gotten out to pay for parking, but her daughter, an adult, was still inside. The suspect forced his way into the driver's seat.
"We didn't hear anything unusual until a woman started shrieking, and she was very upset," said Joanne Skidmore, who was in the area.
Three men from nearby shops ran outside and saw a trail of blood. They followed the trail upstairs to Window Universe, where they found Jackson's body. Furniture was overturned.
In the meantime, the woman who owned the Mercedes repeatedly locked the car until police arrived and arrested Bhasin. Officers were called to the scene about 11:50 a.m.
Bhasin was arrested and charged with murder. Police shut down the block for hours during the investigation. The Mercedes was towed away.
The suspect is being represented by a prominent defense attorney, who referred to Bhasin's mental state.
"We are beginning our investigation into the circumstances of the charge against Pankaj Bhasin, including his mental health condition over the last several weeks," said a statement from Bhasin's lawyer, Peter Greenspun.
Jackson died of multiple blunt force and sharp force injuries, a medical examiner said. Police did not disclose whether a knife or another weapon was used.
Through Bhahsin's lawyer, Bhahsin's family expressed their sympathy to Jackson and his family.
Over the weekend, Alexandria's mayor and police chief walked from shop to shop. They reminded locals that overall crime in the city dropped 13 percent last year. Jackson is the second person to die this year in a homicide.
"This [homicide] is very unusual," Mayor Allison Silberberg said. "It's really an anomaly, so the chief and I wanted to stop by and see how they are doing and provide reassurance."
Bhahsin is being held without bond.
Anyone with information on the crime is asked to call police at 703-746-6689.
Jackson's family is fundraising for a memorial service via GoFundMe. Also, they recommended donations to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in Jackson's name.