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Manhunt for suspect in fatal shooting of deputy and wounding of another in Tennessee

Manhunt for suspected cop killer in Tennessee
Manhunt underway in Tennessee for suspect accused of killing sheriff's deputy 00:52

Authorities in eastern Tennessee were searching early Friday for a suspect they say was involved in a shooting that killed one sheriff's deputy and wounded another.

Warrants have been issued for 42-year-old Kenneth Dehart, who is wanted on suspicion of first degree murder, attempted first degree murder and being a felon in possession of a firearm after the Thursday evening shooting, Blount County Sheriff James Lee Berrong said in posts on the department's Facebook page.

Deputy Greg McCowan was killed in the shooting during a traffic stop. A female officer was shot in the leg and returned fire. She was being treated at a hospital, Berrong said.

"This is the hardest thing I've ever done. We had an officer killed tonight," Berrong said during a news conference in which he was visibly upset. "I'm so sorry that we've lost a young man. I talked to his family earlier. I apologized for not protecting him."

Blount County Sheriff's Deputy Greg McCowan
Blount County Sheriff's Deputy Greg McCowan Blount County Sheriff's Office

A reward of more than $60,000 has been offered for information that leads to an arrest, Berrong said.

"We're going to get this man off the streets of east Tennessee and put him behind bars," he said.

Multiple law enforcement agencies were involved in the hunt for Dehart, who should be considered armed and dangerous and shouldn't be approached if spotted, the sheriff's office said.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation was among the agencies involved in the search. The agency added Dehart to its Most Wanted list following Thursday's shooting.

MOST WANTED ALERT: Kenneth DeHart has been added to the #TNMostWanted list. He’s wanted by the TBI and the Blount County...

Posted by Tennessee Bureau of Investigation on Thursday, February 8, 2024

Dehart was last seen in the city of Maryville, the agency said on social media. The city is in Blount County and located about 17 miles south of Knoxville.

McCowan began his career as a deputy in 2020 after graduating from a regional law enforcement training class, Berrong said Friday. The deputy excelled in his class and was commended in 2021 for helping save the life of a man trapped in a burning vehicle.

"Deputy McCowan was always smiling and friendly to everyone," he said. "Deputy McCowan was a hero both in life and in his death."

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