Search continues for suspect in the fatal shooting of a Tennessee deputy; 2 related arrests made

Law officers in eastern Tennessee are continuing their search for a man accused of fatally shooting one sheriff’s deputy and injuring another during a traffic stop.

Deputy Greg McCowan
Blount County Sheriff's Office via AP

Law enforcement in eastern Tennessee continued their search Saturday for a man who is accused of fatally shooting one sheriff's deputy and injuring another during a traffic stop.

More than $80,000 in reward money has been pledged for information leading to the arrest of 42-year-old Kenneth DeHart, Blount County Sheriff James Lee Berrong said.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said it has issued warrants charging DeHart with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and being a felon in possession of a firearm in the Thursday evening shootings. Deputy Greg McCowan, 43, was killed in the shooting, while Deputy Shelby Eggers, 22, was treated at a hospital and released, the sheriff's office said Friday.

A sheriff's office spokesperson said the search was ongoing Saturday. Law enforcement officers were expected Saturday afternoon to conduct a “nontactical ground search” in an area northeast of Maryville where DeHart’s vehicle was found abandoned, WBIR-TV in Knoxville reported.

“We're committed to track him down,” Berrong said Friday. “We're going to get him and he's going to be brought to justice in Blount County.”

The bureau said in a Friday news release that deputies had initiated a traffic stop on a sport utility vehicle. The car had been stopped on suspicion of erratic driving, said Ryan Desmond, the district attorney general for Blount County.

The driver, identified by authorities as DeHart, refused to get out of the SUV, and a deployed stun gun had no effect, the bureau said. The driver produced a gun and fired shots, striking both deputies, then at least one deputy returned fire and DeHart drove from the scene, the bureau news release said. McCowan later died at a hospital, according to authorities.

Desmond said Friday that DeHart's brother had been arrested and charged with being an accessory for aiding the suspect after the homicide. The brother was jailed and Desmond said he faced a Monday court appearance. A woman identified by media outlets as the shooting suspect's girlfriend also was arrested on an accessory charge Thursday night in adjoining Sevier County, where records show she was also jailed Saturday.

A procession of law enforcement vehicles joined a hearse containing McCowan's body that traveled on Friday through Maryville, which is about 17 miles (27 kilometers) south of Knoxville.

McCowan began his career as a deputy in 2020 after graduating from a regional law enforcement training class, Berrong said Friday.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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