Manhunt Underway In Tennessee After Officer Was Fatal Shot During Traffic Stop

 February 10, 2024

A Tennessee man, suspected of fatally shooting a deputy and wounding another during a routine traffic stop, is the focal point of an intense manhunt, labeling him "armed and dangerous."

Deputy Greg McCowan lost his life and his colleague Shelby Eggers sustained serious injuries. The Blount County Sheriff's Office, grappling with this devastating episode, revealed that Kenneth DeHart, 42, faces severe charges including first-degree murder.

Deputies McCowan, aged 43, and Eggers, aged 22, had initially stopped DeHart's SUV for a routine check when things took a fatal turn. Despite the officers' attempts to de-escalate, the situation sharply deteriorated. A refusal to comply with the deputies’ orders marked the beginning of the confrontation. The employment of a stun gun failed to subdue DeHart, leading to a tragic escalation.

The community mourns as it recalls the fallen deputy's life

“At some point during the encounter, DeHart produced a gun and fired shots, striking both deputies,” reported the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. This act of violence not only shook the community but also resulted in the loss of Deputy Greg McCowan, NBC News reported.

Sheriff James L. Berrong, struggling with emotion, conveyed the gravity of the situation in a press statement. He emphasized the dedication of law enforcement to bring the suspect to justice, reflecting a deep commitment to the safety and well-being of the community.

“We had an officer killed tonight on a traffic stop, another female officer was shot in the leg, and she returned fire. We will get this man off the streets of East Tennessee and put him behind bars,” Berrong stated, his voice laden with resolve and sorrow.

Deputy McCowan, remembered for his dedication and friendly demeanor, leaves behind a legacy of service. His journey in law enforcement, beginning amidst the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, is a testament to his commitment to his community.

A united front in the quest for justice

His passion for motorcycles and vintage vehicles, along with his friendly nature, is how many will remember him. Deputy McCowan's family, including his two children, granddaughter, parents, and fiancée Leah, mourn the loss of a beloved figure in their lives.

Shelby Eggers, although injured, is on the path to recovery after her release from the hospital. Her courage under fire and dedication to her role since joining the sheriff's office in 2019 stand as a beacon of the resilience inherent within our first responders. As the search for Kenneth DeHart continues, the community rallies together. A significant reward has been announced, hoping to encourage tips that will lead to DeHart's capture.

The authorities have urged residents, particularly those in the Wildwood area, to remain vigilant. Checking outdoor security systems for any suspicious activity could prove crucial in the search for DeHart. Anyone with information about Kenneth DeHart's location is encouraged to come forward. The collective effort to apprehend him underscores a shared commitment to justice and the protection of the community.

Conclusion

The community is in a state of mourning after the tragic loss of Deputy Greg McCowan and the wounding of Shelby Eggers during a routine traffic stop that turned deadly.

Kenneth DeHart, now a fugitive, is the subject of a statewide manhunt. Authorities, bolstered by a united community and significant reward offers, are determined to capture the suspect.

Amidst this tragedy, the spirit of resilience and solidarity shines through, underscoring the profound impact first responders have on the fabric of our society.

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