Family ‘overjoyed’ after suspect arrested in death of Nat King Cole’s great-nephew

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The family of musical legends Nat King Cole and Natalie Cole were overjoyed when they learned police arrested someone for the stabbing death of their loved one.

Ricardo Gayle is accused of murdering 31-year-old Tracy Cole inside a stairwell at Cole’s apartment complex in September. Cole’s family says the arrest in this case is what the family needed.

Channel 2′s Tom Jones asked Lionel Cole if the arrest helps ease the pain.

“A lot. A lot,” Cole said.

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Lionel Cole was Tracy’s uncle. He says his family celebrated when they learned Atlanta Police arrested Gayle in Fairburn Saturday.

Cole, a musician and man of many words, was almost speechless.

“I just. This... Just joy,” he managed to say.

Police say Gayle stabbed Cole several times in Cole’s apartment complex stairwell across from the Civil and Human Rights Museum last month. Officers say Gayle prevented Cole from calling 911 and stole his two phones.

Gayle is now charged with murder, aggravated assault, possession of a knife during the commission of a felony, and hindering persons making emergency telephone call.

People who live in the apartment complex where this happened are relieved police made an arrest. “I’m glad there’s been some form of a resolution. May God be with the family of those affected,” one tenant said.

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Cole is the great-nephew of musical legend Nat King Cole. Natalie Cole was his second cousin. Atlanta jazz artist Freddie Cole was his grandfather. Lionel Cole says Tracy helped inspire and collaborated on a song he wrote about Freddie Cole. Freddy Cole was Lionel’s father.

“He (Tracy) got to hear the rough mixes before he died. But he never got to hear the final project,” Cole explained.

Now that song just made the next round in the voting for a Grammy. Cole says it’s a bittersweet moment. His nephew is gone. But his memory will live on in song. “It just makes me feel so good. I can’t tell you,” he said.

Police say Cole and Gayle were familiar with each other and this crime was not random.

Gayle waived his first court appearance Monday morning.

Cole says he will know if the song made the final ballot for a Grammy in about 10 days.

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