Manhunt Underway for Tennessee Man Suspected of Fatally Shooting Sheriff’s Deputy and Injuring Another, Officials Say

Wire Service
By Wire Service
February 10, 2024US News
Manhunt Underway for Tennessee Man Suspected of Fatally Shooting Sheriff’s Deputy and Injuring Another, Officials Say
Kenneth Dehart. (Blount County Sheriff's Office)

A search is underway in east Tennessee for a man suspected of shooting and killing a sheriff’s deputy and injuring another during a traffic stop on Thursday, authorities said.

Kenneth Dehart, 42, is wanted on warrants of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and being a felon in possession of a firearm, according to the Blount County Sheriff’s Office.

On Friday, the suspect’s brother was arrested and charged with accessory after the fact, Blount County District Attorney Ryan Desmond said at a news conference. He is being held on a $1 million bond and is accused of aiding the suspect after the commission of a homicide. The brother is due in court on Monday, Mr. Desmond added.

The search for Mr. Dehart continues, said Sheriff James Lee Berrong.

“We are committed to track him down. It might be today or tomorrow, but we are going to get him and he’s going to be brought to justice in Blount County,” he said, adding that the reward is up to $80,000 due to donations from local businesses throughout the county.

The officer killed was Deputy Greg McCowan, according to Sheriff Berrong. A second officer, Deputy Shelby Eggers, was injured after returning fire. She was treated at a hospital and released, the sheriff’s office said Friday.

Blount County, home to the city of Maryville, is about 30 miles west of Gatlinburg.

Mr. Dehart is believed to be traveling on foot and should be considered “armed and dangerous,” the sheriff’s office said. People were advised to not approach the suspect and should instead contact law enforcement.

His last known location was in the county’s Wildwood area, according to the sheriff’s office.

The sheriff’s office has not provided details on what led to the initial encounter between the deputies and the suspect.

The sheriff said the shooting happened after a traffic stop, and the deputy who was shot in the leg “returned fire.” It’s unclear if the suspect was also wounded.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is assisting in the search and has issued a statewide blue alert for Mr. Dehart.

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