MARYVILLE, Tenn. – A manhunt is currently underway in Tennessee after a sheriff’s deputy was fatally shot and another deputy was wounded during a traffic stop on Thursday night. The incident occurred just before 8:30 p.m. in Maryville, located just south of Knoxville.
The two deputies, Greg McCowan, 43, and Shelby Eggers, 22, were both shot after the driver of the vehicle they pulled over refused to exit the vehicle. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation identified the suspect as 42-year-old Kenneth DeHart, who is now facing charges of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
According to the TBI, after the driver refused to comply with the deputies’ orders, a taser was deployed but had no effect. At some point during the encounter, DeHart produced a gun and fired shots, striking both deputies. One of the deputies returned fire, but the driver was able to escape. As of late Friday morning, there was no known vehicle information.
Tragically, McCowan, who had served as a reserve deputy before joining the Blount County Sheriff’s Office full time in 2020, was pronounced dead at the hospital. Eggers, who began her career at the sheriff’s office in 2019 as a corrections deputy, was treated at a hospital and is currently recovering at home, the sheriff’s office reported.
At an emotional news conference, Sheriff James Lee Berrong asked for prayers for McCowan’s family and for the recovery of Deputy Eggers. He expressed his condolences, apologizing for the loss and emphasizing the need for support for the law enforcement community.
Authorities have urged the public to be cautious as DeHart should be considered armed and dangerous. A reward of $62,500 is being offered for information that leads to his arrest, with gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson donating $40,000 of the reward money. The company recognized the dedication of the deputies to public service and their bravery in the face of danger.
Anyone with information about DeHart’s whereabouts is urged to contact the Blount County Sheriff’s Office or the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and not to approach him. It is a sobering reminder of the dangers law enforcement officers face in the line of duty and the importance of community support and cooperation to ensure public safety.