Police Search for Chief's Son After Shooting of Officers

Struggle took place outside a Dollar General during a stolen vehicle investigation
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 22, 2023 2:10 PM CDT
Nashville Police Search for Son of Chief in Officers' Shooting
These images provided by the City of La Vergne shows La Vergne Police officers Ashely Boleyjack and Gregory Kern. Police in Tennessee were searching Sunday for the estranged son of Nashville's police chief as the suspect in the shooting of the two police officers outside a Dollar General store.   (City of La Vergne via AP)

Police in Tennessee were searching Sunday for the estranged son of Nashville's police chief as the suspect in the shooting of two police officers outside a Dollar General store. Officers in La Vergne, a city about 20 miles southeast of Nashville, were investigating a stolen vehicle outside the store Saturday afternoon when they struggled with the suspect, who pulled a handgun and shot them, said LaVergne Police Chief Christopher Moews. Police identified the suspect as John C. Drake Jr., 38, who is the son of Metro Nashville Police Department Chief John Drake, the AP reports.

Officers Ashely Boleyjack and Gregory Kern were taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. One of them was shot twice, in the groin and right forearm, while the other was hit in the rear left shoulder. One of the officers was released from the hospital Saturday night, and the other officer was kept overnight for observation and was stable, said Anne Smith, a spokesperson for the city of La Vergne, without saying which was which. The police chief issued a statement Saturday confirming his son was the suspect in the shooting. Drake said that they were estranged and that he has only minimal contact with his son. The younger Drake is a convicted felon who "resorted to years of criminal activity," he said.

"He now needs to be found and held accountable for his actions today. I hope that anyone who sees him or has information about him will contact law enforcement immediately," Drake said in the statement. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said in a social media post that a statewide alert had been issued for Drake, who was wanted on two counts of attempted first-degree murder. Mayor Freddie O'Connell issued a statement in support of the police chief, per the AP. "I know that despite our best efforts—including in their early years—we can't be responsible for the choices of family members," O'Connell said.

(More Nashville stories.)

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