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Former Jackson 5 drummer stabbed to death

Police trying to determine if Johnny was related to famed singing family
/ Source: The Associated Press

A former drummer for the Jackson 5 was stabbed to death inside a home, authorities said.

Johnny Jackson, 54, was found dead Wednesday, the coroner's office said. It was not immediately clear whether he was related to the Jackson family, who also are from Gary.

Police went to the home after an upstairs resident heard a disturbance between Jackson and a woman on the first floor, police Cmdr. Jack Arnold said. Authorities were still looking for the woman.

Police believe Johnny Jackson, who replaced the Jackson 5's original drummer, Milford Hite, around 1967, was a cousin of the famous family. Other reports said he was not a blood relative.

"It hurts me so bad," said boyhood friend Anthony Acoff. "I called him that night. We were supposed to go to a jam session."

Jackson grew up a few blocks from the Jackson family and had made a name for himself as a drumming prodigy before he started high school, said Gordon Keith, who has sued Jackson family members over the rights to their early recordings with his Steeltown Records.

"He was a show drummer," Keith recalled. "There were times that he would outshine Michael at their shows."

In recent years, Jackson played with Acoff's band, White Dove.