The 24-year-old trooper pulled over two men and was trying to get them out of the vehicle Saturday night when he was shot twice, according to footage from the patrol car's video camera. At least one bullet struck him in the head, said Mike Browning, a Department of Safety spokesman.
On Sunday, two men were "arrested without incident" at a hotel near downtown Nashville, said Tennessee Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Jennifer Johnson.
TBI director Mark Gwin said "after interviewing the two men we feel confident we have the two people in custody that murdered the state trooper."
Hunters found Trooper Calvin Jenks' body beside his patrol car near the intersection of state highways 14 and 54, Browning said.
Authorities believed the suspects were carrying drugs and drove toward Nashville after the shooting in Tipton County, which is just north of Memphis, Browning said before Sunday's arrests.
Browning said Jenks smelled marijuana on the driver. He said that when Jenks asked the man if he had drugs in the car, the suspect eventually admitted there were "drugs in the center console" of the car.
Browning said Jenks then went back to the passenger and asked him if he had drugs. The man said he didn't, then opened fire, Browning said.
Investigators found what they believe is Jenks' flashlight in a garbage can at a Wal-Mart in Brownsville, 13 miles east of the scene of the shooting. Browning said one of the suspects bought a sweat shirt at the Wal-Mart and authorities were trying to get video footage from inside the store.
Jenks, 24, had been a trooper for two years and was the grandson of a retired Tennessee Highway Patrol officer, Browning said.
He graduated from trooper school in April 2004 and was assigned to Marshall County in Middle Tennessee, but he transferred to the Tipton area in 2005 to be closer to his fiancee, who is in medical school in Memphis, Browning said.
"He was good at his job, hardworking and well-liked by everyone he worked with," Browning said.
The last Tennessee state trooper killed on duty was Todd Larkins, who died in July 2005 when a truck struck him on Interstate 40 in Dickson County.