Tennessee authorities search for suspect in shooting of 2 sheriff's deputies

A reward of more than $ 60,000 has been offered for information that leads to an arrest

Deputy Greg McCowan
Blount County Sheriff's Office via AP

Authorities in eastern Tennessee were searching early Friday for a suspect they say was involved in a shooting that killed one sheriff’s deputy and left another wounded.

Warrants have been issued for 42-year-old Kenneth Dehart, who is wanted on suspicion of first degree murder, attempted first degree murder and being a felon in possession of a firearm after the Thursday evening shooting, Blount County Sheriff James Lee Berrong said in posts on the department’s Facebook page.

Deputy Greg McCowan, 43, was killed in the shooting during a traffic stop. A female officer was shot in the leg and returned fire. Deputy Shelby Eggers, 22, was treated at a hospital and released to recover at home, Berrong said.

“This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. We had an officer killed tonight,” Berrong said during a news conference in which he was visibly upset. “I’m so sorry that we’ve lost a young man. I talked to his family earlier. I apologized for not protecting him.”

A reward of more than $60,000 has been offered for information that leads to an arrest, Berrong said.

“We’re going to get this man off the streets of east Tennessee and put him behind bars,” he said.

Multiple law enforcement agencies were involved in the hunt for Dehart, who should be considered armed and dangerous and should not be approached if spotted, the sheriff’s office said.

Dehart was last seen in the city of Maryville, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said on social media.

McCowan began his career as a deputy in 2020 after graduating from a regional law enforcement training class, Berrong said Friday. The deputy excelled in his class and was commended in 2021 for helping save the life of a man trapped in a burning vehicle.

“Deputy McCowan was always smiling and friendly to everyone,” he said. “Deputy McCowan was a hero both in life and in his death.”

Maryville is in Blount County and located about 17 miles (27 kilometers) south of Knoxville.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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