"Everyone looked up to him," said one of Jackson's two children, Blake, 20, a Sam Houston State University student. "He was a people person, the type that could 'sell a ketchup Popsicle to a lady in white gloves,' as a line in a recent movie said."
His daughter, Lindsey, 22, a recent graduate of Texas A&M University, says her father was always there for her, as well as for everybody else.
"He was very caring," she said.
Besides regularly riding his Harley-Davidson, Jackson loved to hunt and was licensed to carry a concealed weapon. He kept a handgun in a zipped compartment in the door of his vehicle, his family said.
Authorities are investigating whether it is still there.
"Even with a gun, he wouldn't have hurt anybody. Not even the robber," Tippit said.
The clerk on duty the night of the robbery declined to be interviewed. "She is crying, too frightened," the manager said.
Police offer advice
Investigators are trying to ascertain whether Jackson was buying gas at the Shell station or another one across the street that he usually used, or was just passing by when the robbery occurred.
The robber had parked his vehicle at a paint store across the street from the gas station, and the clerk was unable to see the license plate.
Police advised those who see a crime happening to watch from a safe distance and then call police.
"The best thing to do is just be a good witness and observer," said Fort Bend County Chief Deputy Craig Brady.
Brady said information such as license-plate numbers and suspect descriptions should be conveyed to police dispatchers or officers on the scene.
However, Brady said in some rare instances, a person might try to assist.
"If you see somebody being raped or murdered and you have the ability to intervene, that may be a little different," he said.
Brady said police dispatchers are also trained to get information from witnesses and then advise the witnesses to let police handle the situation.
Chronicle reporters Eric Hanson and Kevin Moran contributed to this report.
Copyright (c) 2006, Houston Chronicle Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Business News.