NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — 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.
Nashville Police Chief John Drake issued a statement on Wednesday thanking officers for working to locate his son after John Drake Jr., 38, was accused of shooting and wounding two officers in nearby La Vergne on Saturday.
“It was my prayer that no harm would come to him or anyone else,” the elder Drake said. “I am heartbroken and saddened by the outcome. I appreciate the condolences and kind words of support as my family and I privately mourn our loss.”
Metro Nashville Police spokesman Don Aaron said in a news conference on Tuesday night that the younger Drake had stolen a car at gunpoint from a home southeast of downtown around 6 p.m. 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. TBI will investigate Drake’s death at District Attorney Glenn Funk’s request and a full autopsy will be performed as a part of the investigation, the agency said.
Drake, who had been wanted on two counts of attempted first-degree murder, was the son of Metro Nashville Police Department Chief John Drake. The chief 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.
The search began on Saturday when Officers Ashely Boleyjack and Gregory Kern were investigating a stolen vehicle outside the Dollar General store in La Vergne, a city about 20 miles (32 kilometers) southeast of Nashville. 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, Moews 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.
Nashville Mayor Freddie O’Connell released a statement calling the younger Drake’s death “a tragic end.”
“Our heart goes out to Chief Drake and his family at this difficult time,” he said.
The story has been updated to correct the spelling of the La Vergne police chief’s last name on second reference.