‘I want him back’: Father reacts to son’s death following shootout with Macon County deputies

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WESTMORELAND, Tenn. (WKRN) — On Tuesday night, Howard Raabe got a call at his Easton, Connecticut home from an agent with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

“He then told me that my son was dead,” Raabe said.

A neighbor on West Stinson Road in Westmoreland, Tennessee called the police on Raabe’s son, 48-year-old Nathaniel Raabe, after seeing him outside with a gun.

When investigators arrived, Macon County Sheriff Mark Gammons says Raabe was acting suicidal. But Gammons says Raabe quickly turned the gun from his own head to the responding deputies and pulled the trigger.

“This is so unlike Nate. He wouldn’t hurt a fly. In 48 years, I have never seen him raise a finger, a hand, to anyone,” Raabe said.

The shots wounded Macon County deputy Kyle Petty who also fired back at Raabe. Investigators later found Raabe dead inside his home. But, who pulled the trigger on the fatal shot is still under investigation.

“He loved the outdoors. Kayaking, mountain climbing, flying an airplane, bicycling. All those activities,” Raabe said. “He loved life and he loved his kids.”

Just one day after the shooting, Howard Rabbe is still trying to wrap his head around his son’s death. He described the last time he saw his son in person to News 2.

“The last physical contact I had with him was when he was leaving to go back to Tennessee. I hugged him as all fathers do, and I told him I love you,” Raabe said.

Find the latest crime reports on WKRN.com’s Crime Tracker

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is now handling the case, and Raabe’s family still has a lot of unanswered questions.

“I want him back,” Raabe said. “We’ll all miss him.”

Deputy Petty was treated for his injuries at TriStar Skyline Medical Center and released on Tuesday night. The case is still under investigation.

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