Grammy-winning country music engineer Mark Capps was killed by a Metro Nashville SWAT officer on January 5th as officers were attempting to serve the 54-year-old with arrest warrants at his home in the Hermitage neighborhood. As three SWAT officers arrived on the front porch of Capps’ home, Mark Capps opened the front door, allegedly holding a pistol. Officers shouted “Show me your hands!” less than a second before one officer fired three or four shots, killing Mark Capps. The incident can be seen in body cam video.
However, new information from multiple sources raises questions about the original story given by Metro Nashville Police about what happened in the hours leading up to the shooting of Mark Capps, and also raises questions about the story told by the alleged victims that led to police being sent to the residence in the first place, namely that an officer for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations was in the home when the alleged kidnappings and threats occurred.
According to Metro Nashville Public Affairs Director Don Aaron, the incident began when Mark Capps allegedly went on a tirade at his home in Nashville around 3 am Thursday morning (1-5), throwing things in the house and ultimately holding both his 60-year-old wife and 23-year-old stepdaughter at gunpoint, allegedly telling them that if they tried to call anyone or flee the home, he would kill them. When Capps eventually fell asleep around sunup, the two women were said to have escaped with their pets to the Hermitage police precinct where they explained to police what happened.
Four total warrants were issued for Mark Capps, two for aggravated assault and two for kidnapping, and a request for a protection order was also processed. Due to the concern for the firearm Capps had allegedly used to threaten the two women and the presence of other firearms at the residence, Metro Nashville Police chose to use the SWAT team to serve the warrants. As three SWAT officers were taking part in a “covert operation” to place an explosive device on the front door of the home, Mark Capps opened the front door. This is when the shooting happened.
In a press conference after the shooting, Metro Nashville’s Don Aaron said,
The subject’s wife and stepdaughter were awakened by him this morning at gunpoint. They were brought into a family room. He threatened them, said that if they called anyone he would kill them. He was also throwing things about the residence, and just generally threatening them with the gun all the while, not letting them leave. Some time this morning after sunup, he ultimately fell asleep. The two victims were able to flee the residence, and went directly to the Hermitage precinct. Officers there talked to the two victims, took their statements in detail, and wound up swearing out arrest warrants against Mark Capps.
Neither in this press conference, nor in the Critical Incident Briefing accompanying the body camera footage that was released by Metro Nashville later in the day does Don Aaron or anyone else intimate that there was a fourth individual in the home when the alleged kidnapping and threats occurred.
Saving Country Music has verified that the boyfriend of the 23-year-old stepdaughter was also in the home at the time, and that the boyfriend is an officer for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, who incidentally is handling the investigation into the killing of Mark Capps.
In the four arrest affidavits obtained by Saving Country Music, the presence of the boyfriend in the home is verified.
On 01/05/2023 I responded to hermitage precinct at 1030 hours. The victim and her daughter had come into the precinct to report that her husband, the defendant, had woken them up at 0300 hours along with her daughter’s boyfriend and gathered everyone in the living room. the victims then stated he held them at gunpoint using a Taurus Judge Revolver and refused to allow them to leave.
Saving Country Music also reached out to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) to verify this information.
“We can confirm an off-duty TBI police officer (whose primary job is to provide security at TBI offices) was at the home as a guest of the step-daughter referenced in media reports the night prior to Friday afternoon’s shooting,” says TBI spokesperson Susan Niland. “He left the home before the two women reported their concerns to Metro Police. The TBI notified District Attorney General Glenn Funk of this information when it surfaced and he requested we remain in an investigative capacity in this ongoing case.”
The presence of an off-duty TBI police officer in the home when the alleged kidnapping and threats occurred raises numerous questions.
1) If the alleged victims were being held at gunpoint and were not allowed to leave or call anyone, how was the boyfriend able to leave the house prior to Mark Capps falling asleep, and prior to the two alleged victims escaping the house?
2) Once the boyfriend left the house, why did he not call police, go to the police precinct himself, or report what happened to TBI once he arrived at work?
3) As a member of law enforcement, why did the boyfriend not attempt to take charge or diffuse the situation? According to the affidavits, Mark Capps was “heavily intoxicated, drinking alcohol and taking prescription medications through out the night.” Could a trained law enforcement officer not overtake a heavily-inebriated Mark Capps? And if he couldn’t, why didn’t he call someone who could when he left the property?
4) Why did Nashville Metro not convey that a member of law enforcement was in the house when the alleged threats and kidnapping happened, and was one of the alleged victims of the threats and kidnapping?
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Charges weren’t filed for aggravated assault and aggravated kidnapping for the boyfriend since he did not swear to arrest warrants similar to the wife and stepdaughter, even though he was named in the affidavits as an alleged victim of the threats and kidnapping.
Questions also remain about the timeline. According to Metro Nashville Police and the affidavits, the incident started at around 3:00 am on January 5th. The two alleged victims made it to the Hermitage police precinct at 10:00 am, presumably shortly after escaping from Mark Capps after he fell asleep. It’s unconfirmed at this time when the boyfriend left the residence to go to work at the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations offices, but TBI has confirmed it was before the two women left the residence. The presence of cameras at the home (which police have confirmed), could verify this information.
These are just the questions that arise from the revelation that a TBI officer was in the home. Many more questions persist about the way the SWAT team handled the serving of the warrants, including why they did not attempt to communicate with Mark Capps and give him the opportunity to give himself up, why SWAT chose to implement a “covert operation” before announcing their presence in the area, how the gun that Mark Capps was allegedly holding ended up tucked beneath a rug and a parcel underneath a table without visible blood on it after Capps had been shot 3 or 4 times, and other questions.
Saving Country Music has also learned more about the state of mind of Mark Capps leading up to the alleged kidnapping incident. Along with losing his brother Jeffery Allen Capps two days prior to the incident, Mark Capps was concerned about money at the time. Capps worked as the sound engineer for Grand Ole Opry members The Isaacs. On December 15th, Becky Isaacs was hit head-on in a two car collision in Hendersonville, Tennessee, and hospitalized. This resulted in the Isaacs having to cancel many of their tour dates, which put Mark Capps out of work right around the Holidays.
With engineering credits tracing back to 1991, Mark Capps was a prolific studio engineer. Alabama, The [Dixie] Chicks, The Mavericks, Brooks & Dunn, Clay Walker, and Elizabeth Cook are some of the other artists Capps worked with in his career. Capps was also a co-winner of Grammy Awards for Best Polka Album in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008. His father was legendary Grand Ole Opry guitar player Jimmy Capps.
Mark Capps never fired a shot in the incident, police had never been called to the house before for a domestic disturbance or anything else, and Mark Capps had no prior criminal record.
Stay tuned to Saving Country Music for more information on this continuing story.