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Body found inside burning van outside Goodlettsville church

MNPD investigating as homicide
Body found in burning van outside Goodlettsville church
Body found in burning van outside Goodlettsville church
Body found in burning van outside Goodlettsville church
Posted at 2:31 AM, Oct 13, 2021

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — An investigation is underway after a man's body was found inside a burning van in Goodlettsville late Tuesday night.

The Nashville Fire Department was called to the parking lot of the Parkway Baptist Church on Cunniff Parkway just before 9 p.m. Tuesday. Firefighters reported the vehicle was engulfed in flames. Once they put out the fire, firefighters saw there was a body inside and called Metro police.

The case is being investigated as a homicide, according to Metro Nashville Police Department. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms are also assisting with the investigation since it happened on a church's property.

On Thursday evening, Metro police identified the victim as 47-year-old Dewayne Leggs.

According to Metro Nashville Police Department's data dashboard, the ZIP code in which this homicide investigation is unfolding is a low crime area. This is the first homicide case in this ZIP code in three years.

Detectives tell NewsChannel 5 there is one surveillance camera near the front door of the church that is pointed toward the parking lot. The footage is being reviewed by investigators but they have not revealed whether it caught the fire as it happened.

Police said a further examination of the body will take place today at the Medical Examiner’s Office. Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 615-742-7463.

Parkway Baptist Church released the following statement in response to the incident:

A vehicle was left in the entrance to the front parking lot of our church Tuesday evening. The church was notified by neighbors that the vehicle was on fire. The authorities were informed and police and fire trucks responded. The vehicle is not connected to our church, and none of our church members were involved in the incident in any way. We are cooperating with local authorities and aiding their investigation in every way possible. Our prayers go up for everyone that may have been impacted by this incident.