No motive, no suspects in 2011 shooting of Ed Wisdom Jr.

Jul 09, 2018 at 11:00 am by Michelle Willard

Ed Wisdom Jr.'s remarkable life was tragically cut short in October 2011 when he was shot on the porch of his Nashville home. He was 71 years old.

There was no motive. There were few clues. There is no suspect.

"It's definitely difficult for the family," his son Ed Wisdom III said to WSMV in 2014. "There's unknowns. There's pieces to the puzzle that you would like to fill in. Not being able to fill them in in a more timely basis than three years is definitely difficult."

The Victim

Edward Henry "Jack" Wisdom Jr. was a life-long educator who served in the 555th all-African American Airborne Parachute Infantry Division of the U.S. Army.

His life was a series of firsts. He was reportedly one of the first black graduates of Austin Peay State University, the first graduate with a degree in mathematics and worked as the first black teacher at Clarksville High School.

In February 2011, he retired after working for 37 years at Tennessee State University, leaving as the director of Management Information Systems.

Wisdom Jr. was married to Emma Wisdom for 49 years and fathered two children Rolanda Michelle and Ed III.

He was well-respected and active in his community.

Wisdom III also founded a nonprofit, Edward H. Wisdom Jr. Foundation, which encourages educational attainment and provides mentors for at-risk youth. He also started a scholarship fund at TSU for students studying Information Technology.

Wisdom grew up with Olympic gold medalist Wilma Rudolph and served as a pallbearer at her funeral.

The Crime

On Oct. 28, 2011, Wisdom was "gunned down" on the porch of his home of 38 years on Moorewood Drive in North Nashville, community activist Earl Jordan told The Tennessean.

Witnesses reported hearing gunshots around 2 a.m. Friday, Oct. 28, 2011.

A neighbor discovered Wisdom at 12:30 p.m. and was first thought to have died of natural causes, but an autopsy found he was shot in the chest.

There seemed to be no motive in the shooting.

The Investigation

MNPD's cold case unit has continued investigating the case over the years and Wisdom III has been active in helping investigators over the years.

In the days following Wisdom's death, Metro Nashville Police Department spokesman Don Aaron said investigators were following leads.

Wisdom III and Jordan set up a phone hotline for the community to call with tips and launched the "Unsolved Murder Campaign for Ed Wisdom Jr." The hotline was operated by the nonprofit Partners in the Struggle. Wisdom III held a town hall meeting to search for clues.

His family thought they may have closure in 2014 but no charges were filed.

Anyone with information can contact the Homicide Cold Case and Missing Persons Unit at 615-862-7329.


Michelle Willard is a freelance journalist who fills her days with social media marketing, politics, true crime, and taking complaints. You can complain to her on Twitter @MichWillard or by email michelle(at)murfreesborovoice.com.