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St. Petersburg police arrest former Lakewood High music teacher on attempted murder charge

Police said Jacob Merrett, 35, shot a man during a “domestic-related incident” at a home on 64th Avenue South.
 
Jacob Woodside Merrett, 35, is pictured in a Pinellas County booking photo taken after his arrest Wednesday on an attempted first degree murder charge. St. Petersburg police said Merrett shot a man during a "domestic-related incident" in Merrett's home.
Jacob Woodside Merrett, 35, is pictured in a Pinellas County booking photo taken after his arrest Wednesday on an attempted first degree murder charge. St. Petersburg police said Merrett shot a man during a "domestic-related incident" in Merrett's home. [ St. Petersburg Police Department ]
Published Jan. 31|Updated Feb. 1

St. Petersburg police have arrested a former Lakewood High music teacher on an attempted murder charge after a shooting at a home in the Pinellas Point neighborhood early Wednesday.

Police responded at 1:55 a.m. to a call about a man who had been shot inside a home on the 600 block of 64th Ave. S., according to the St. Petersburg Police Department.

Investigators believe Jacob Woodside Merrett, 35, shot the man in “a domestic-related incident,” police said. Merrett lives at the home and he and the man know each other, according to police.

According to a heavily-redacted criminal report affidavit released by the St. Petersburg department, Merrett shot the man “numerous times with a semi automatic handgun,” causing life-threatening injuries.

The department redacted the rest of the details in the affidavit. A police spokesperson cited an active investigation for the redactions.

Merrett was booked into the Pinellas County jail on a charge of attempted first-degree murder and was being held Wednesday without bond.

According to his personal website, Merrett taught music at Lakewood High School and served as the chairperson of the performing arts department for more than a decade.

His Facebook page says he is a “program manager” at the BLI Institute in Pinellas Park, and the institute’s website lists him as a “high school teacher/music director.”

A person who answered the phone at the BLI Institute on Wednesday said Merrett left the institute about two months ago and that the school’s website needs to be updated. The person, who declined to identify themselves to a Tampa Bay Times reporter, said no more information was available and would not answer questions before hanging up.

According to a Pinellas School District spokesperson, Merrett was hired by the district in 2011 and he left in October 2022. At the time of his departure, he was an assistant principal at Disston Academy for Progress and Enterprise in Gulfport and was dismissed from that post during his probationary period.