A manhunt is underway in Tennessee after a sheriff’s deputy was fatally shot and a second deputy was wounded during a traffic stop Thursday night.
Blount County sheriff’s deputies Greg McCowan, 43, and Shelby Eggers, 22, were shot after a driver refused to get out of his vehicle during the stop just before 8:30 p.m. in Maryville, just south of Knoxville, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said.
Kenneth DeHart, 42, has been identified as the suspect in the shooting. Authorities said he faces charges of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and being felon in possession of a firearm.
Kenneth DeHart, 42, is being sought on charges of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and being a felon in possession of a firearm. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation warned that he may be armed.
“A taser was deployed with no effect. At some point during the encounter, DeHart produced a gun and fired shots, striking both deputies,” the TBI said in a news release.
At least one of the deputies returned fire, but the driver was able to escape. There was no known vehicle information as of late Friday morning, the TBI said in a social media post.
McCowan, who served as a reserve deputy before joining the Blount County Sheriff’s Office full time in 2020, was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Eggers, who began her career at the sheriff’s office in 2019 as a corrections deputy, was treated at a hospital and is recovering at home, the sheriff’s office said.
“Please keep his family, and the young lady who was shot, her and her family, and the Blount County Sheriff’s Office employees in your prayers,” Sheriff James Lee Berrong said in an emotional news conference. “I’m so sorry that we’ve lost a young man. I talked to his family earlier. I apologized for not protecting him.”
Blount County sheriff's deputies Greg McCowan, 43, and Shelby Eggers, 22, were both shot during the traffic stop. McCowan was pronounced dead after being taken to a hospital. Eggers is reportedly recovering after being treated for her wounds.
Authorities said that DeHart should be considered armed and dangerous, and that anyone who sees him or has knowledge of his whereabouts is urged to not approach him and to contact the Blount County Sheriff’s Office or the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
A $62,500 reward is being offered for information that leads to his arrest. This reward money includes $40,000 that’s being donated by gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson, which recently moved its headquarters to Maryville from Massachusetts.
“These men and women are the backbone of our community, tirelessly working to ensure our safety and well-being,” Smith & Wesson said. “This is a stark reminder of why we call them heroes, and why they deserve our unwavering support and respect. They put their lives on the line each and every day.”