UPDATED: A Grammy-winning recording engineer who has worked in the Nashville music scene for 35 years, Mark Capps, was shot and killed by police in Nashville Thursday afternoon. A spokesperson said he was killed by a SWAT team member after he brandished a gun in his doorway, as police responded to an incident in which Capps had allegedly held his wife and adult stepdaughter captive at gunpoint.
The death sent shock waves through much of the local music community. Capps was part of a family that is well-known in Nashville circles; he was the son of legendary session player, Grand Ole Opry guitarist and Musicians Hall of Fame member Jimmy Capps, who died in 2020. The fatal shooting of Capps comes just two days after his brother died, as indicated on his social media.
Thursday night, the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department posted body-camera footage of the shooting. Capps’ actions at the time he was shot are difficult to make out in the video footage, with sunlight reflecting off the home’s glass outer door. A still photo included in the police department’s video shows the gun police say he was holding when he was shot. (The video, as posted by police on YouTube, is embedded below.)
Capps, 54, was wanted on aggravated assault and aggravated kidnapping warrants at the time of his death. Metro Police spokesman Don Aaron told reporters that Capps brought his 60-year-old wife and 23-year-old stepdaughter into their family room at gunpoint at approximately 3 a.m. and “told them if they called someone, he would kill them. They were extremely frightened by him and his actions toward them in not letting them leave.” After he fell asleep around dawn, police said, the two women escaped and went to the Hermitage precinct to file a report. The SWAT team confronted and killed him shortly after the warrants were issued at 1:55 p.m.
A discography on Capps’ website indicates that, since 1987, he has worked with country and gospel artists including Alabama, the Dixie Chicks, Neil Diamond, Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Brooks & Dunn, Barry Manilow, Chris Young, Aaron Tippin, Conway Twitty, Joe Diffie, the Oak Ridge Boys, Big & Rich, the Gaither Vocal Band, John Michael Montgomery, Kenny Rogers, Donna Summer, the Mavericks, Anita Cochran, Kenny Loggins, Olivia Newton-John and the Isaacs, among others.
The Recording Academy’s website shows he picked up a Grammy for best polka album four years in a row, from 2005 through 2008, working with the group Jimmy Sturr & His Orchestra.
“Just after the arrest warrants were issued, SWAT was preparing in the event he barricaded himself inside,” Aaron told reporters, per News Channel 5. “He came to the door with a gun in hand. At that point, he was fatally shot. We have since learned there were cameras monitoring the outside of the home. He may have well seen them outside the residence. They were in SWAT gear and clearly marked to him as members of the police department.”
The footage of the shooting posted by Nashville police can be viewed below, framed by commentary from Aaron. The disturbing, age-restricted video clip shows an officer standing outside a glass screen door, and the inside door opening, revealing a figure appearing to be in pajamas. The officer yells “Show me your hands!” just before opening fire, then repeats the warning upon opening the shattered door. An “It’s a wonderful life” Christmas decoration is seen rocking back and forth on the interior door as officers enter. Aaron concludes the YouTube clip by saying that there will be an investigation to confirm that officers acted properly.
In his video statement, the Nashville police spokesperson offers additional information beyond what reporters were told earlier in the day. Aaron says in the YouTube video that Capps’ wife and stepdaughter told officers not only that he had threatened to kill them, but that he had said he would shoot police, as well, if they turned up.
Capps had just lost his brother two days prior to the incident that resulted in his own death. In Capps’ last public Facebook post, dated yesterday, he wrote, “No words. RIP Jeffery Allen Capps, Dec 31, 1967 – Jan 03, 2023,” alongside an undated photograph of himself and his brother standing in front of their father’s grave.