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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Police chief’s son in Nashville who was wanted in shooting of 2 officers is found dead, authorities say

The estranged son of Nashville’s police chief, who was wanted in the shooting of two police officers, was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after leading police on a chase in a stolen car, authorities said.

Police had been searching for John Drake Jr., 38, since Saturday, when two officers were shot and wounded outside a Dollar General store in La Vergne, a city about 20 miles southeast of Nashville.

Metro Nashville Police spokesman Don Aaron said Drake stole a car at gunpoint from a home southeast of downtown Tuesday night, WSMV-TV reported. Drake asked a man and woman in front of a home for a ride and when they were unable or unwilling to give him a ride, he pulled out a gun and demanded the car in the driveway, Aaron said.

Officers spotted the car a short time later and followed it to the Edgehill area south of downtown, where it crashed. Drake fled to a shed behind a home and when officers surrounded the area, a gunshot was heard, Aaron said.

Officers found Drake dead with a gunshot wound that was apparently self-inflicted, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said in a statement posted on social media.

“After pursuing investigative leads in the search for TBI Most Wanted suspect John Drake, Jr., authorities responded to a location in the 1400 block of 15th Avenue South in Nashville tonight,” read the statement shared on Tuesday. “There, responding officers heard a muffled gunshot from an outbuilding and subsequently found Drake deceased from what appears to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound. At the request of the 20th Judicial District Attorney General Glenn Funk, TBI special agents will investigate Drake’s death. A full autopsy will be performed as part of the ongoing investigation.”

Drake had been wanted on two counts of attempted first-degree murder and, as the search for him got underway over the weekend, authorities said he should be considered “armed and dangerous” and offered a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to an arrest. He was the son of Metro Nashville Police Department Chief John Drake, who issued a statement Saturday confirming his son was the suspect in the shooting. He said his son has not been part of his life for some time.

“Despite my efforts and guidance in the early and teenage years, my son, John Drake Jr., now 38-years-old, resorted to years of criminal activity and is a convicted felon,” Drake said.

Officers Ashely Boleyjack and Gregory Kern were investigating a stolen vehicle outside the Dollar General store when they struggled with the suspect, who pulled a handgun and shot them, said La Vergne Police Chief Christopher Moews. Both officers were treated and released from Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

In a statement posted on social media, Meows thanked all the officers involved in Tuesday night’s pursuit for their “steadfastness and dedication to seeing this case through” and said their prayers are with Chief Drake and his family.

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