Search continues in Nashville, Tennessee, for son of police chief suspected of shooting 2 officers

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LA VERGNE, TENN. — LA VERGNE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee police on Sunday were searching for the estranged son of Nashville’s police chief as a suspect in the shooting of two police officers outside a Dollar General store.

Officers in La Vergne, a city about 20 miles (32 kilometers) southeast of Nashville, were investigating a stolen vehicle outside the store Saturday afternoon when they struggled with the suspect, who pulled out a gun and shot them, he said. LaVergne Police Chief Christopher Moews.

Police identified the suspect as John C. Drake, Jr., 38, son of Metro Nashville Police Department Chief John Drake.

One of the officers was shot twice, in the groin and right forearm, while the other officer was hit in the back of the left shoulder. Both were taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. One of the officers was released from the hospital Saturday night. The other officer spent the night under observation and was in stable condition, said Anne Smith, spokeswoman for the city of La Vergne. His identities have not been revealed.

The police chief issued a statement Saturday confirming that his son was the suspect in the shooting. Drake said they were estranged and that for many years he had only minimal contact with his son. The younger Drake is a convicted felon who “turned to years of criminal activity,” he said.

“Now it is necessary to find him and hold him accountable for his actions today. I hope anyone who sees him or has information about him contacts police immediately,” Drake said in the statement.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said in a social media post that a state alert had been issued for Drake, who was wanted on two counts of attempted first-degree murder. Smith said about a dozen law enforcement agencies are involved in the search.

After the shooting, La Vergne police issued a shelter-in-place order for city residents. The shelter-in-place order was later lifted as the search for Drake continued, the department said in a social media post.

Mayor Freddie O’Connell issued a statement in support of the police chief.

“My heart goes out to Chief Drake, his family and the two injured LaVergne police officers. I know that despite our best efforts, even in their early years, we cannot be responsible for the decisions of family members,” O’Connell said. “I stand with Chief Drake and support him in this difficult time. “

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