Kenneth DeHart, 42, is wanted on charges of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and felon in possession of a firearm
Authorities in Tennessee have issued a $100,000 reward for information on the whereabouts of 42-year-old Kenneth DeHart
DeHart is accused of fatally shooting Blount County Deputy Greg McCowan, 43, and wounding Deputy Shelby Eggers, 22, on Feb. 8
McCowan was remembered as someone who "loved riding motorcycles and restoring old vehicles"
A reward for information about the whereabouts of a man suspected of killing a sheriff’s deputy and injuring another in a shooting in Tennessee has been increased to $100,000, authorities said.
The Blount County Sheriff’s Office announced Saturday that it raised the reward from the previous $80,000 to $100,000 as law enforcement continued their manhunt for the alleged gunman identified as 42-year-old Kenneth DeHart.
Chief Deputy Jeff French said in a video posted to Facebook that there were “over 150 personnel” searching dense and wooded areas in eastern Tennessee. He added that investigators have also executed search warrants and followed up on tips from the community.
“We’re going to work tirelessly until we take Mr. DeHart into custody,” the chief deputy said. “We’re not going to stop.”
DeHart is wanted on charges of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and felon in possession of a firearm, Blount County Sheriff James Lee Berrong said in a Facebook post. The suspect is considered armed and dangerous.
On Feb. 8, Deputy Greg McCowan, 43, was fatally shot and Deputy Shelby Eggers, 22, was wounded during a traffic stop, authorities said, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel, CBS News and the Associated Press.
Eggers, who joined the Blount County Sheriff’s Office in 2019, has since been released from the hospital and is continuing her recovery at home, according to a statement shared Friday by the sheriff’s office.
According to CBS News, county prosecutor Ryan Desmond said the deputies stopped DeHart on suspicion of erratic driving. When DeHart allegedly refused to get out of the SUV, the deputies deployed a stun gun, which reportedly had no impact.
After that, DeHart, who was behind the wheel, allegedly fired shots that struck both deputies before at least one returned fire, CBS News reported. The suspect then reportedly fled the scene.
Since then, DeHart’s brother, Marcus DeHart, and a woman named Carrie Matthews have been arrested on accessory charges in connection with the deadly shooting, WATE 6 reported, citing court documents. It’s unclear if they had entered pleas or retained attorneys to speak on their behalf.
“This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. We had an officer killed tonight,” Sheriff Berrong said during a news conference, per the AP. “I’m so sorry that we’ve lost a young man. I talked to his family earlier. I apologized for not protecting him.”
McCowan had been with the Blount County Sheriff’s Office since 2020 and had recently been accepted as a member of the office’s crisis negotiations team. He was commended by the sheriff’s office in April 2021 for his part in saving the life of a man trapped in a burning vehicle, according to a statement from the sheriff’s office.
“He loved riding motorcycles and restoring old vehicles,” the statement reads. “Deputy McCowan leaves behind his children Cayley and Cayden, his granddaughter Ella, his mother and father, his fiancé Leah, and numerous family and friends.”
Authorities have asked anyone with information about DeHart's whereabouts to contact the Tennessee Bureau of Information at 1-800-TBI-FIND or 865-981-7125.
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