Charles O. Jones, a veteran news director with NBC, shot and killed himself at his Poolesville home early yesterday morning, Montgomery County police reported. Jones, 59, left the company last week after questions were raised about unexplained expense vouchers.
Police spokesman Phillip Caswell said Jones shot himself with a handgun about 1:40 a.m. yesterday about 50 yards outside his house on Whites Ferry Road in rural Poolesville.
A medical examiner ruled his death a suicide, Caswell said.
Jones began his career as a photographer for the old Washington Times-Herald where he often covered the same stories as his twin brother Eugene, a former photographer for The Washington Post.
Charles Jones joined NBC in July 1950 as a network cameraman and five years later became a director of network news and special events in Washington. He also worked as a director for the "Today" show, affiliate station news, and "World Wide News" with David Garroway.
NBC sources said Jones left the company on Feb. 8 in connection with unexplained expense vouchers, while three managers in various NBC finance departments were reprimanded.
M.S. Rukeyser Jr., the network's executive vice president for corporate communications, said expenses totaling about $100,000 had been submitted over a seven-year period with "no reasonable explanation provided."
Reached by a Washington Post reporter on Thursday, Jones said, "I simply resigned because I wanted to take early retirement." Asked about the expenses, he said, "I know nothing about that and have no comment."
"It is with deep regret that we have learned of the death of Charlie Jones, who served NBC for more than 34 years," NBC President Lawrence K. Grossman said yesterday. "All of us at NBC News extend our deepest condolences and heartfelt sympathy to his family."