“Gave a description of the person, a description of the vehicle, and ultimately told us he was following the subject down Holcomb Bridge Road,” he said.
Johns Creek and Dunwoody officers later intercepted Lappe’s car in a parking lot off Winters Chapel Road.
Dash cam video shows officers command Lappe to exit his car and put up his hands, but it shows him running away from police, who fired upon him.
He later died at Grady Memorial Hospital.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is leading the inquiry into the shooting.
“We were very worried about him,” said father, Jim Lappe. “This tragedy, we believe, was a police-assisted suicide on his part.”
Lappe said he holds no ill will towards the officer.
“He had to make a split-second decision,” Lappe said. “He made the decision and we have to live with that.”
Lappe told Petchenik his son graduated from Marist High School and Georgia State, and worked in commercial real estate. He was also the father of a little boy.
“Jason was a great kid, but he was conflicted,” Lappe said. “He had a drug problem, was a drug addict and this has been going on for years.”
Lappe said his son resorted to crime as a cry for help.
“In order to be incarcerated so that he could be free, hopefully, from drugs,” he said.
But Lappe said the system that was supposed to help his son failed him miserably.
“He did say he found that drugs were available within these facilities, typically prison staff or the guards would make that available,” he said.
Once out of prison, Lappe told Petchenik that his son went to several rehab centers, but to no avail.
“The supervision he received was terribly flawed,” he said. “We knew there was a problem and we asked for help. We begged for help. All we got was words.”
Ultimately, Lappe said he doesn’t blame anyone but his son for the outcome, but he’s hopeful someone will hear their story and make changes to the system.
“There are terrible problems within our prison system,” Lappe said.