A former Florida teacher went on the run after allegations of child pornography came to light, and he remained missing until authorities found him dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Metro Nashville Police Department officers confirmed the death of 33-year-old former middle school teacher Cory Perry, saying he was wounded when FBI special agents arrived at a hotel in Nashville, Tennessee, on April 14 to arrest him. He was transported to a nearby hospital and pronounced dead, WTVF reports.
A federal arrest warrant was issued against Perry on March 28 fo production of child pornography, receipt of child pornography and enticement charges.
"During the investigation of this matter in the Nashville, TN, area this afternoon, FBI agents approached an individual for questioning when the individual took his own life," the FBI said in a statement. "No law enforcement personnel were injured. Until local authorities make a positive identification of the deceased and notify next of kin, no further information is available."
Perry fled from Florida after the allegations against him came to light, and chose Tennessee because he had family there. The FBI offered a reward of $25,000 for information leading to his arrest and conviction.
Following initial reports of Perry's crime, a woman claiming to be his grandmother defended him in a phone interview with WPEC.
"That is not his nature at all," the woman said. "He is a person that does good for everybody. We have no idea where Mr. Perry is. We have not heard from him. We are in suspense and we want to know ourselves where he is. We just know he’s scared; we want to let him know we love him."
Perry allegedly shot himself in the head just before officers arrived at the hotel to arrest him, Heavy reports.
Perry was a Florida A&M graduate who was hired as an intern for a Palm Beach school district before beginning work as a full-time teacher. Palm Beach County Schools Superintendent Robert Avossa addressed the media on March 29 prior to Perry's death about the accusations.
"As a lifelong educator, I’m disgusted at what I have learned," Avossa said. "He has hurt innocent children. This individual has embarrassed his school, his community and his entire profession by harming the most important thing entrusted to him, our students. He broke a sacred professional code. And I cannot and will not forgive him for that."
Perry reportedly had close relationships with students at the school where he worked for 11 years, and was also a basketball coach.