Metro Nashville Police Department Chief John Drake proved the fruit sometimes falls far from the tree, as is the case with his estranged son John C. Drake Jr. Following the 38-year-old son’s shooting of two officers on October 21st in La Vergne, TN, the man was placed on the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s Ten Most Wanted list. He is being accused of shooting the officers as they investigated a stolen car at a Dollar General store.
The two officers were shot and both discharged by the night of the 22nd. Identified as Officers Gregory Kern and Officer Ashely Boleyjack, the duo did everything right, given the suspect quickly drawing down on them and having the jump. Boleyjack was treated and released from Vanderbilt University Medical Center, while Kern was held overnight for observation.
In a statement, Chief Drake offered his sympathy for the officers and attempted to explain the situation surrounding his son. “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.”
Shooting like this serves as a sterling example of nature versus nurture. This man made the conscious decision to become a criminal. Raised with hope, opportunity, and options, the man abandoned them to evade his responsibility as an adult and instead chose to resort to a life of crime. He didn’t want to become a productive member of society or follow the example of his father.
This needs to serve as proof that people have choices to make and that when they continuously make the wrong ones, the path they lay out for themselves can become incredibly perilous. For these officers, their lives are irreparably changed. There is no coming back 100% from getting shot in the line of duty. While there are trainings and courses they can go through, nothing will make them the same as before this.
For this failure of a son, adding two counts of attempted first-degree murder will only serve to put the icing on the cake for his criminal career. He has been going after the low-hanging fruit of lawlessness for ages now, and this will likely either cost him his life in the streets, or he’ll spend a long life behind bars. The time from now until he is captured or killed will be the only free time this man will get. Even that won’t be all that free.
While many other voices have been heard on this shooting, Nashville Mayor Freddie O’Connell gave some of the most supporting words. “My heart goes out to Chief Drake, his family, and the two wounded La Vergne police officers. I know that despite our best efforts — including in their early years — we can’t be responsible for the choices of family members. I support Chief Drake and stand by him at this difficult time. He is the right Chief of Police for Nashville.”
It’s incredibly difficult as a parent to see your child hunted down, especially after they attempted to gun down not one, but two of your fellow officers. For most people, they cannot understand the level of conflict Chief Drake must feel on at least some level. To know your own flesh and blood would attempt to gun down two of your fellow officers must be absolutely gut-wrenching. Thankfully both of these officers have survived and will be available to face their assailant in court.