NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — More details are emerging surrounding a four-day manhunt that started in La Vergne and spanned across Middle Tennessee before finally coming to a tragic end in Nashville Tuesday night.
John Drake Jr., the 38-year-old man wanted for shooting and injuring two La Vergne police officers on Saturday, Oct. 21, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI).
Initial reports indicated that the shooting happened after the officers were sent to investigate a stolen vehicle flagged by La Vergne’s license plate reading software. However, court documents have revealed more events leading up to Saturday’s incident.
New details have also been discovered about a carjacking that led to officers locating Drake Jr. — described by officials as the “estranged son” of Metro Nashville Police Chief John Drake — on Tuesday, Oct. 24.
Below is a full timeline of events based on the latest information available.
Friday, Oct. 20
An arrest warrant obtained by News 2 details how Drake Jr. was involved in a domestic violence situation on the night of Friday, Oct. 20.
The victim went to the La Vergne Police Department headquarters Saturday morning and told officers Drake Jr. had slapped her in the face, hit her in the head, and grabbed her chin with force.
Responding officers noted the victim had discoloration on her gums, which they said confirmed the assault. She told them she could not clarify specific events due to the repetitive nature of assault “since it happens every day” and “the events blur together.”
According to court documents, she and Drake Jr. were engaged to be married, despite having an “extensive domestic violence history.” The victim did not want to press charges because she was afraid for her life, but Metro police spokesperson Don Aaron said the police department decided to prosecute on her behalf.
The arrest affidavit said the woman told officers she believed Drake Jr. would kill her. However, she did want to seek an Order of Protection. A check of Drake Jr.’s criminal record revealed a lengthy criminal history, including multiple convictions for domestic assault and aggravated assault by strangulation.
Saturday, Oct. 21
Officer Ashely Boleyjack and Officer Gregory Kern were called to the Dollar General on Stones River Road in La Vergne shortly before 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 21. According to police, a stolen vehicle had been picked up in the area by the city’s license plate reader software.
While on scene, authorities said the two officers ended up in a struggle with Drake Jr., who pulled out a handgun and shot them. One of the officers suffered a gunshot wound to the rear left shoulder while the other was shot in the right groin and right forearm.
Both officers were taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center Saturday and later released.
The police department posted about an “active police incident” shortly after 3 p.m. and community members were advised to stay away from that area and seek alternate routes.
Then, at 3:38 p.m., police instructed residents in the Stones River Road area near Lake Forest Drive to shelter in place and lock their doors due to an “active threat.” After Drake Jr. was named as the suspect, Chief Drake released a statement about his son.
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. My thoughts and prayers are with the two officers, who I understand are now in stable condition at Vanderbilt.
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 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.Metro Nashville Police Chief John Drake
Multiple Middle Tennessee law enforcement agencies joined in the search effort as it stretched late into Saturday night. The TBI issued a Blue Alert late that night for Drake Jr., who was being charged with two counts of attempted first-degree murder.
At the time, the agency said Drake Jr. should be considered “armed and extremely dangerous.”
Just after 11:15 p.m., the LVPD announced the shelter-in-place order had been lifted in the area around Stones River Road and Lake Forest Drive, saying, “There is no immediate threat to the public. We are continuing our search efforts but ask everyone to remain vigilant. If you see something, say something.”
Tuesday, Oct. 24
After four days of searching, Metro police received a report just after 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 24 that Drake Jr. had approached some people at a home on Antioch Pike and demanded their gold Chrysler 200 at gunpoint.
According to police, Drake Jr. had initially asked one of the people for a ride while she was sitting in the Chrysler. However, she reportedly declined, telling him that she was low on gas. That’s when Drake Jr. reportedly pulled out a pistol and ordered her out of the car.
“I am at Antioch Pike and some guy just robbed me at gunpoint and took my car. He took my car. He took my car,” the victim told 911.
Drake Jr. then got into the Chrysler and drove away toward Nolensville Pike, officials said. A short time later, Metro police officers saw the Chrysler near the intersection of Thompson Lane and Patricia Drive and initiated a pursuit.
Officers followed Drake Jr. into the Edgehill area and onto 15th Avenue South. Around 8 p.m., a helicopter crew saw him crash the Chrysler into a parked car on Villa Place. Drake Jr. then got out of the car and ran into a shed behind a home on 15th Avenue South, police reported.
“No matter how many cops there were already here, there were still so many coming by,” described Reid Cowperthwaite, who was in the area when police responded. “They were kind of blocking people off and I heard some stories from other people where they heard this loud bang.”
The TBI said authorities responded to the scene and then, at approximately 8:18 p.m., heard the sound of a muffled gunshot from the shed. When officers moved in to investigate, they found Drake Jr. dead from what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
La Vergne Police Chief Christopher Moews issued the following statement Tuesday night:
The La Vergne community and our heroic officers can rest easy tonight knowing that the manhunt for John Drake Jr. is over. We want to thank all of the officers who were involved in tonight’s pursuit for their steadfastness and dedication to seeing this case through to the end. Our prayers are with Chief Drake and his family.La Vergne Police Chief Christopher Moews
Wednesday, Oct. 25
The TBI confirmed that detectives are continuing their investigation into Drake Jr.’s death at the request of District Attorney General Glenn Funk. In another statement, Chief Drake thanked the first responders who worked to locate his son and said he is “heartbroken and saddened by the outcome.”
Local leaders like Nashville Mayor Freddie O’Connell also commented on the incident, saying, “This was a tragic end to John Drake Jr.’s life, and our heart goes out to Chief Drake and his family at this difficult time.”
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This is a developing story. WKRN News 2 will continue to update this article as new information becomes available.