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Manhunt underway after Tennessee deputy shot, killed during traffic stop

Warrants on Friday charged Kenneth Wayne DeHart Jr. with first degree murder, attempted first degree murder and felon in possession of a weapon in the murder of a sheriff's deputy and wounding of a second deputy. Photo courtesy Blount County Sheriff's Department
Warrants on Friday charged Kenneth Wayne DeHart Jr. with first degree murder, attempted first degree murder and felon in possession of a weapon in the murder of a sheriff's deputy and wounding of a second deputy. Photo courtesy Blount County Sheriff's Department

Feb. 9 (UPI) -- A manhunt Friday searched for the killer of a Blount County, Tenn., sheriff's deputy following a Thursday evening traffic stop. Another deputy also was wounded.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said in a statement that just before 8:30 p.m. Thursday, "Blount County Sheriff's Office initiated a traffic stop on an SUV in the 4900 block of Sevierville Road in Maryville. The driver, identified as Kenneth Wayne DeHart Jr. (DOB: 1/12/82), would not cooperate with deputies and refused to get out of the vehicle. A taser was deployed with no effect. At some point during the encounter, DeHart produced a gun and fired shots, striking both deputies."

Warrants Friday charged DeHart with first degree murder, attempted first degree murder and felon in possession of a weapon.

Killed was Deputy Greg McCowan. Deputy Shelby Eggers was wounded and hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries.

At least one of the deputies returned fire, according to TBI.

Blount County Sheriff's Deputy Greg McCowan was shot to death following a traffic stop Thursday evening in Tennessee. A manhunt is underway Friday for suspect Kenneth Wayne DeHart Jr. Photo courtesy of Blount County Sheriff's Department
Blount County Sheriff's Deputy Greg McCowan was shot to death following a traffic stop Thursday evening in Tennessee. A manhunt is underway Friday for suspect Kenneth Wayne DeHart Jr. Photo courtesy of Blount County Sheriff's Department

An $80,000 reward was announced by the Blount County sheriff's office for DeHart's capture. That includes $40,000 from Smith & Wesson CEO Mark Smith, $10,000 from the U.S. Marshals Service and pledges from other businesses and individuals.

DeHart's criminal record revealed 26 different criminal charges from 2002-2017, including aggravated assault, domestic violence and unlawful possession of a weapon counts.

Blount County, Tenn., sheriff's deputy Shelby Eggers was wounded and hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries following a traffic stop shooting Thursday evening. Photo courtesy of Blount County Sheriff's Department
Blount County, Tenn., sheriff's deputy Shelby Eggers was wounded and hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries following a traffic stop shooting Thursday evening. Photo courtesy of Blount County Sheriff's Department

The records show he served four years at the Charles B. Bass Correctional Complex for aggravated assault.