Blue Alert: Manhunt underway after Tennessee deputy shot, killed
By TOI Desk Report February 9, 2024 Update on : February 9, 2024
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) issued a Blue Alert for a suspect accused of shooting and killing a Blount County deputy Thursday evening.
According to the Blount County Sheriff’s Office, the suspect, Kenneth DeHart, 42, is wanted with first-degree murder and being a felon in possession of a firearm among other serious crimes, reports CNN.
The first Blue Alert was issued around 12:23am on Friday and a second alert with an updated link roughly 40 minutes later.
The alerts went out across Tennessee to people’s phones and were labelled as a Public Safety Alert out of Maryville.
Sheriff James Lee Berrong said Friday that the officer killed was Deputy Greg McCowan.
The second officer, Deputy Shelby Eggers, who was injured after returning fire, was treated at a hospital and released.
However, Blount County is about 30 miles west of Gatlinburg.
Berrong said a reward of over $60,000 is now being offered for information leading to Dehart’s capture. Besides, the sheriff’s department initially announced varying amounts of reward money.
The sheriff’s office said that Dehart is believed to be travelling on foot and should be considered “armed and dangerous”.
People have been advised to not approach the suspect and should contact law enforcement.
According to the sheriff’s office, the suspect’s last known location was in the county’s Wildwood area.
However, the sheriff’s office has yet to provide details on what led to the primary encounter between the deputies and the suspect.
The shooting happened after a traffic stop, the sheriff said, adding that the deputy who was shot in the leg “returned fire.” However, it’s not clear if the suspect was also injured.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has issued a statewide blue alert for Dehart and is assisting in the search.
The TBI issued a Blue Alert for the last time in October 2023.