NASHVILLE (WSMV) - Police and the family of Erik Helffenstein are asking the public for assistance in helping to identify Erik's killer or killers.
"Any information that anyone has regarding this will be beneficial," Erik's father Gary Helffenstein said.
The Bellevue father was killed on October 29th while pursuing burglars who had been seen breaking into a vehicle parked outside his Meadow Ridge Circle home in the Traceside subdivision off Highway 100. When Helffenstein went outside to confront the car burglars, they fled the scene in a black SUV. It was then Helffenstein chased them in his vehicle. As they traveled on Highway 100, shots were fired from the burglars' getaway SUV at Helffenstein, who was hit and killed.
"I don't think he had any intention of apprehending them, I suspect he was looking for a license plate number because it was dark," Gary said.
The vehicle Helffenstein was chasing after was a stolen black Nissan Rogue, and was stolen hours before his murder from a Mt. Juliet home. The keys were taken during a break-in of a home there.
Seven hours after Helffenstein was killed, credit cards belonging to the owner of the stolen Rogue were used at a Kroger on Gallatin Avenue. Two men were identified with the stolen credit cards, 22-year-old Cordarius Smith and 23-year-old Lavonta Blanch.
Smith is currently incarcerated in Nashville on unrelated aggravated assault charges, and has been indicted in Wilson County on charges of aggravated burglary and auto theft for stealing the Nissan Rogue. Blanch is incarcerated in Wilson County in an unrelated robbery case. Metro Police said both men did not provide any substantive information about the murder.
The stolen Nissan Rogue was later found abandoned on October 31 in a parking area of Highlands at the Lake Apartments in Hermitage. After being impounded and processed, evidence recovered from the vehicle are still undergoing scientific testing.
If you have any information about the criminal activities of Smith or Blanch during the October 2018 timeframe, you're asked to contact Crime Stoppers at (615) 742-7463. Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and may qualify for a cash reward.
"If this is a ring or there's more involved than just the two people that have been accused and apprehended at this point in time than it's going to make a safer community," Gary said. "Goodness begins in the hearts of individuals and we as individuals stand up for what is right and what is just, then I think it's a living tribute to my son, because he made that stand and paid that price."