Image Credit: Tennessee Bureau of Investigation / Facebook
The Tennessee Conservative [By Adelia Kirchner] –
On Thursday, February 8th, Blount County’s Deputy Greg McCowan was shot and killed during a traffic stop on Sevierville Road in Maryville, Tennessee.
Just before 8:30pm that evening, Deputy McCowan and Deputy Shelby Eggers initiated a traffic stop. The driver and suspect, 42-year-old Kenneth Wayne DeHart, Jr. reportedly did not cooperate and refused to exit the vehicle.
A taser was deployed “with no effect” and DeHart pulled out a gun, firing at both of the deputies. Eggers returned fire after being shot in the leg.
DeHart reportedly drove away from the scene and both deputies were transported to a local hospital where Deputy McCowan later died.
“My friends behind me, they’ve had officers and have stood up here before you before. I haven’t. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” Blount County Sheriff James Berrong said in a press conference on the night of the shooting. “I’m so sorry that we’ve lost this young man. I talked to his family earlier. I apologize for not protecting him.”
Deputy Eggers was released from the hospital after being treated for serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
“When you see the video, or tape, that we release down the road…what they were put through and [Eggers] to survive and do her job that good and try to protect her partner is amazing,” Sherriff Berrong stated in a February 11th update.
DeHart’s girlfriend, Carrie Matthews, was taken into police custody that same night as an accessory to the crime after she reportedly warned the suspect that police were looking for him.
Around 12:23am on Friday, February 9th, the TBI issued a Blue Alert. A second Blue Alert containing a proper link to the TBI’s Facebook page was issued at approximately 1:04am.
Prior to this incident DeHart already had a lengthy criminal history dating from 2002 to 2017 with charges including:
• 13 Counts of Violation of an Order of Protection
• 3 Counts of Aggravated Assault
• 1 Count of Domestic Violence w/Assault
• 2 Counts of Domestic Violence w/Aggravated Assault
• 2 Counts of Unlawful Possession of a Weapon
• 1 Count of Coercion of a Witness
• 1 Count of Driving on a Suspended License
• 2 Drug Charges
The TBI has currently obtained warrants charging DeHart with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and felon in possession of a firearm in relation to the Maryville shooting and death of Deputy McCowan.
He has also been placed on the TBI Most Wanted list.
The search for DeHart is ongoing and the initial reward for information leading to his arrest has increased to $100,000 thanks to pledges from several businesses and individuals.
“This operation has gone 24/7 since the night it happened. I want closure soon,” said Sherriff Berrong. “I want him in custody when I go to that funeral.”
Deputy McCowen’s funeral has been set for Wednesday of this week.
Anyone who sees DeHart or has information regarding his whereabouts is asked to call 1-800-TBI-FIND or 865-981-7125.
About the Author: Adelia Kirchner is a Tennessee resident and reporter for the Tennessee Conservative. Currently the host of Subtle Rampage Podcast, she has also worked for the South Dakota State Legislature and interned for Senator Bill Hagerty’s Office in Nashville, Tennessee.
You can reach Adelia at email@example.com.