Authorities in Tennessee are actively searching for John C. Drake, Jr., 38, who is suspected of shooting two police officers outside a Dollar General store in La Vergne, a city located approximately 20 miles southeast of Nashville. The incident occurred during an investigation of a stolen vehicle on Saturday afternoon, according to La Vergne Police Chief Christopher Moews.
In the course of the investigation, officers engaged with the suspect, who subsequently brandished a handgun and opened fire, injuring both officers. One officer sustained gunshot wounds to the groin and right forearm, while the other was hit in the rear left shoulder. They were transported to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. One officer was released from the hospital on the same night, while the other remains in stable condition and under observation, as reported by Anne Smith, a spokesperson for the city of La Vergne. Their identities have not been disclosed.
The suspect, John C. Drake, Jr., is the estranged son of Metropolitan Nashville Police Department Chief John Drake, who confirmed his relationship with the suspect in a statement on Saturday. Chief Drake described the minimal contact he has had with his son over the years and highlighted that the younger Drake is a convicted felon who has engaged in extensive criminal activities. Chief Drake urged the public to assist law enforcement in locating his son and holding him accountable for his alleged actions.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation issued a statewide alert for John C. Drake, Jr., on two counts of attempted first-degree murder. Multiple law enforcement agencies are collaborating in the search for the suspect.
Following the shooting, La Vergne police issued a shelter-in-place order for city residents, although this order was subsequently lifted while the search for Drake continued.
Mayor Freddie O’Connell expressed support for Chief Drake and extended sympathies to the wounded officers, emphasizing that family members’ choices are beyond one’s control.
The suspect, described as 5-foot-11 with a muscular build, facial hair, and dreadlocks, was last seen wearing a black T-shirt featuring a white hockey mask emblem on the front with red lettering, along with gray pants. He was last observed driving northbound on Stones River Road in La Vergne. Authorities have warned that Drake, Jr. is armed and dangerous, urging the public to remain vigilant and report any sightings or information related to his whereabouts.