Search continues for Nashville police chief’s son after shooting of two officers

Search continues for Nashville police chief’s son after shooting of two officers

Sandy Mazza

Natalie Neysa Alund
 USA TODAY NETWORKplayShow CaptionHide Caption#videoDetailsToggle{color:var( –color-dove-gray,rgba(0,0,0,.6));cursor:pointer;display:inline-block;font-family:var(–sans-serif,sans-serif);font-size:var(–type-7);font-weight:var( –font-weight-bold,900);line-height:var(–spacer-twentyfour,24px);margin-bottom:-8px}#vdt_hide{margin-bottom:10px}.vdt-flex[hidden]{display:none}.vdt-svg{fill:var( –color-dove-gray,rgba(0,0,0,.6));height:var(–spacer-twentyfour,24px);width:var(–spacer-twentyfour,24px)}Nashville police chief’s son wanted for shooting two officersThe son of John Drake, Chief of the Metro Nashville Police Department, is a suspect in the shooting of two officers.unbranded – Newsworthy

NASHVILLE, Tenn. − Authorities on Monday continued to search for the son of Nashville’s police chief who officials said is a suspect in the shooting of two officers in Tennessee over the weekend.

The shooting took place Saturday afternoon in the city of La Vergne, about 20 miles southeast of Nashville, and injured two La Vergne Police Department officers.

Police in the city issued a shelter-in-place order after the shooting, asking residents in Rutherford County − the the fifth-most populous county in the state − to lock their doors and stay inside while officers combed the area for the suspect.

La Vergne police identified the suspect as John C. Drake Jr. − confirmed by the Metro Nashville Police Department as Chief John Drake’s son.

The suspect, police said, is believed to be armed and dangerous and is wanted on two counts of attempted first-degree murder.


Shooting suspect still at large

Drake Jr. remained at large as of Monday morning, Nashville police spokesman Don Aaron told USA TODAY.

On Monday police said both injured LaVerne officers, who were taken to a Nashville hospital in stable condition Saturday, had been released from the hospital.

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The shelter-in-place order, police said, was lifted Saturday night after “all search efforts had been exhausted” and police had reason to believe Drake “was no longer in the established perimeter.”

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A stolen vehicle and shots fired

The shooting occurred at 2:23 p.m. in front of a Dollar General Store in La Vergne while officers pursued a possible stolen vehicle, according to La Vergne Police Chief Christopher Moews.

“Our officers were investigating a stolen vehicle. They made contact with a subject. They struggled with that subject,” Moews said. “During that struggle, the suspect produced a handgun and fired shots.”

Both injured officers were transported to Vanderbilt University Medical Center to be treated for multiple gunshot wounds − one by ambulance and one by medical helicopter.

Police identified the injured officers as La Vergne officers Ashley Boleyjack and Officer Gregory Kern.

Boleyjack, a nearly three-year veteran whose name was not released, was shot in the left shoulder. Kern, who has held the position for a year and a half, was shot in his right groin and right forearm.

The suspect wore gray pants and a “black T-shirt with a hockey mask emblem on the front with red lettering,” Moews said. “Lock your doors and call the police if you see subjects matching this description.”

Police said Boleyjack was released from the hospital on Saturday night and Kern was released Sunday.   

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Chief: ‘He now needs to be found’

Drake issued a statement Saturday evening calling for the arrest of his son, with whom he said he is estranged.

“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 in the statement. “He has not been a part of my life for quite some time. 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.”

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Newly elected Nashville Mayor Freddie O’Connell issued his own statement in support of Drake.

“My heart goes out to Chief Drake, his family, and the two wounded La Vergne police officers. 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. “I support Chief Drake and stand by him at this difficult time. He is the right Chief of Police for Nashville.”

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Who is John Drake Jr.?

Drake was added to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s Most Wanted List on Sunday and is wanted by the TBI for two counts of attempted first degree murder.

Police described him as 5’11” tall and about 195 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes.

At the time of the shooting, he had facial hair and dreadlocks, police said.

The TBI on Monday was offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest of Drake.   

Who is Nashville’s police chief?

Nashville’s top cop, the city’s eighth police chief, was appointed to the post in November 2020.

Drake, who has been with the department for 35 years, bested four outside finalists to succeed his predecessor Steve Anderson, who left the police department under criticism in 2020.

Drake should not be approached, police said.

Anyone who knows where Drake is should call 911 or the 1-800-TBI-FIND hotline.

Natalie Neysa Alund is a senior reporter for USA TODAY. Reach her at [email protected] and follow her on X @nataliealund.

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