MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- Detectives are investigating the death of a Rutherford County man who was found shot to death inside a car Sunday morning near the Almaville Road exit on Interstate 24.
The body of Jackie Graham Warpoole Jr., 47, of Smyrna, was found inside a silver Dodge Magnum about 6:30 a.m. by a motorist who had stopped to check on the parked car, which was situated on the shoulder of the road, according to officials with the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office.
“We are treating this as a homicide,” Sheriff Robert Arnold said at a press conference held Sunday evening at the Sheriff’s Office in Murfreesboro. “We do not have a suspect or a motive at this time.”
Warpoole was a lifelong resident of Rutherford County. His death comes just 10 days before Christmas.
“We give our sympathy to Mr. Warpoole’s family who must deal with his death, especially this close to Christmas,” Arnold said.
This is the first homicide to occur in Rutherford County since 2011, when a man was killed on Burks Hollow Road during a home invasion and robbery.
Sheriff’s Office officials held a press conference at 4 p.m. in light of some media reports that interstate traffic was backed up for nearly eight hours due to a traffic accident.
When in reality, Rutherford County deputies and officials with the Tennessee Highway Patrol, as well as the Tennessee Department of Transportation, closed two lanes of Interstate 24 to investigate the murder, he said.
“It wasn’t a crash, as the media initially reported,” Arnold said, adding detectives were at the scene until after 1 p.m. collecting evidence for the investigation.
The car has since been taken to Nashville, where it will be transported to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation for processing.
Based on the evidence collected there, Arnold said authorities believe Warpoole was traveling westbound on I-24 when he “pulled over and stopped” for some reason.
“There was no one else in the car when we got there,” he said. “I can’t go into any further details at this time, but, at this point, there is no reason to think (the gunshot wound) was self inflicted.”
Authorities do not know why Warpoole stopped on the shoulder of the road, and they are trying to piece together the last few days of his life, including information regarding his whereabouts in the hours leading up to his death.
They are also trying to locate the last people Warpoole spoke with early Sunday.
Arnold said Sheriff’s Office officials are hoping someone from the public will come forward with any pertinent information for the case.
People who have any information or saw anything unusual in that area are asked to call Detective Jamin Humphress, who works for the Sheriff’s Office, at 615-904-3054 and leave a message.