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Grammy Winner Is Killed By Police Investigating Claims He Kidnapped His Wife And Stepdaughter And Held Them At Gunpoint

Police arrived at Mark Capps' home Thursday afternoon to serve warrants for his arrest after his wife and stepdaughter alleged that he had held them captive at their Tennessee home at gunpoint earlier that day.

By Jill Sederstrom
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A Grammy-winning recording engineer was shot and killed by police Thursday afternoon while authorities were investigating allegations that he had kidnapped his wife and daughter and held them at gunpoint inside the family’s home.

Metropolitan Nashville Police spokesman Don Aaron said in a video statement that 54-year-old Mark Capps, a four-time Grammy winner, was killed Thursday after he brandished a gun in the doorway of his home as SWAT officers moved in.   

According to Aaron, Capps’ 60-year-old wife and 23-year-old stepdaughter told police that Capps had allegedly woken them up around 3 a.m. Thursday and gathered them in the living room, where he held them at gunpoint and “refused to allow them to leave.”

“They said Capps repeatedly pointed his pistol at each of them and told them multiple times that if they attempted to call anyone, he would kill them and kill any police that showed up at the house,” Aaron said.

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Police said that Capps was allegedly heavily intoxicated and under the influence of prescription drugs, NBC Nashville affiliate WSMV reports.

The women were able to flee the home with their pets after Capps reportedly fell asleep.

“They drove to the Hermitage precinct and told officers what Capps had done and that they were in fear of him,” Aaron said.

A police hand out of Mark Capps

Warrants were issued for Capps’ arrest on two counts of aggravated kidnapping and two counts of aggravated assault just before 2 p.m.

Aaron said the help of the SWAT team was requested because of Capps’ access to guns and “his violent actions overnight.”

Three SWAT officers were in the process of beginning “work outside the home” when Aaron said Capps opened the front door of his Summit Run Place home with a pistol in his hand.

The video released by police shows footage of the confrontation as SWAT Officer Kendall Coon approaches the door. The front door opens as Coon stands with his weapon pointed at the door. Coon and another officer shout for Capps to show his hands before gunfire quickly erupts.

It’s not clear from the video whether anything had been in Capps’ hands or if he made any comments before the gunshots.

The video included a still image of a pistol on the floor which Aaron said Capps had been carrying.

“Officer Coon deemed that Capps movements posed an immediate, imminent threat and fired,” Aaron said.

As the SWAT officers move into the house, a wooden sign can be seen on the front door that reads “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

Capps died at the scene.

Mark Capps home where the crime took place

Aaron said the incident is being investigated by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department and the Davidson County District Attorney’s Office to determine whether the use of force was justified.

“By policy, the MNPD will also be conducting an administrative review of the tactics and interaction…to ensure that they meet the high standards expected of our officers,” Aaron said.

Friends of Capps told local station WSMV that they were shocked by the shooting and the allegations against the well-known recording engineer.

“It’s so out of character for the person I know intimately to be like that, it just didn’t make sense to me and it still doesn’t make sense to me,” friend Don Cook said.

According to Cook, Capps’ brother had died just two days before the shooting. He also said Capps was was not currently working and “feeling some pressure financially.”

“I’m sure that weighed on him heavily,” he said.

Given the pressures on his mental health and lack of a criminal record, friend Mike Bradly said he wished police would have handled the situation differently.

“My real hope is that we can’t bring Mark back, but the next time an incident like this happens, I hope there are better ways to resolve it without the death of someone,” he said.

Before his death, Capps had been a well-known recording engineer in Nashville. He worked during his career with big name country and gospel artists like Alabama, The Chicks, Neil Diamond, Amy Grant, Brooks & Dunn and Barry Manilow, according to Variety.

Capps won four consecutive Grammys, beginning in 2005, for best polka album while working with Jimmy Sturr & His Orchestra.

Capps’ father was Jimmy Capps, a guitarist with the Grand Ole Opry and member of the Musicians Hall of Fame.

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