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Police chief's son suspected of shooting 2 officers, manhunt underway

John Drake Jr., who is considered armed and dangerous, is wanted for two counts of attempted murder in Tennessee.
La Vergne Police Officers Ashely Boleyjack and Gregory Kern
Posted at 2:05 PM, Oct 22, 2023

Tennessee police are on the hunt for the estranged son of Nashville's police chief, who is suspected of shooting two officers.

The incident happened at 2:23 p.m. at a Dollar General in La Vergne, Tennessee, which is 20 miles from Nashville. 

La Vergne police officers had been investigating a stolen vehicle when they made contact with a subject, La Vergne Police Chief Christopher Moews said in a press briefing. Officers struggled with the subject, who produced a handgun and fired shots, he said. 

One officer suffered a gunshot wound to the rear left shoulder and was transported to Vanderbilt University Medical Center. A second officer suffered a gunshot wound to the right groin and the right forearm. That officer was airlifted to the same hospital.

The La Vergne officers were identified as Ashely Boleyjack and Gregory Kern, according to Scripps News Nashville. Boleyjack was released from the hospital Saturday, while Kern was kept overnight for observation in stable condition.

The suspect has since been identified as John Drake Jr., who is the son of Nashville Police Chief John Drake.

La Vergne police said Drake Jr., who remains on the loose, is "considered armed and dangerous."

The shooting prompted a shelter in place order, which was eventually lifted.

Nashville's police chief spoke out Saturday after learning his son was the suspect in the shooting.

"I am shocked and deeply saddened to learn that my estranged son, with whom I have had very minimal contact over many years, is the suspect in this afternoon's shooting of the two La Vergne police officers," said the Nashville police chief, who also expressed thoughts and prayers to the officers.

"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," he said. "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." 

In a post on X, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said a statewide alert was issued for Drake Jr., who is wanted for two counts of attempted first-degree murder. 

Anyone with information is urged to contact the La Vergne Police Department or the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation at 1(800) TBI-FIND.