Two inmates connected to Bellevue deadly shooting; police search for shooter

Posted at 2:24 PM, Mar 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-15 23:33:03-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Metro Nashville Police officers arrested two men in connection to a deadly Bellevue shooting in 2017.

Erik Helffenstein was shot and killed last October in Bellevue. Police say he spotted burglars trying to break into a vehicle parked outside his home on Meadow Ridge Circle. Helffenstein went outside to confront the men, but they got away in a black SUV. Helffenstein then got in his own vehicle to chase them down.

Police say as they traveled on Highway 100, shots were fired from the burglars’ SUV at Helffenstein. He was hit and fatally wounded.

On Friday, officers arrested 22-year-old Cordarius Smith and 23-year-old Lavonta Blanch in connection with the case.

Police say they used stolen credit cards at the Kroger at 711 Gallatin Avenue. Smith is presently jailed in Nashville on unrelated aggravated assault charges. He has been indicted in Wilson County on charges of aggravated burglary and auto theft for stealing the Rogue. Blanch is jailed in Wilson County in an unrelated robbery case. West Precinct detectives have questioned both men. They, to this point, have not provided any substantive information concerning the murder case.

Anyone with information about the criminal activities of Smith and/or Blanch, particularly during the late October 2018 timeframe, is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 615-742-7463. Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and qualify for a cash reward.

This joint investigation involving detectives from the West Precinct and Mt. Juliet police remains active.