A manhunt is underway in the mountains of southeast Tennessee for a man accused of killing one deputy and wounding another during a routine traffic stop, state officials say.
It’s not yet clear why 42-year-old Kenneth Wayne DeHart Jr. fired shots at the two Blount County deputies, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said in a news release.
Investigators say it happened around 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 8, when DeHart was stopped on a rural road in Maryville, about 40 miles west of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Deputy Greg McCowan was killed and Deputy Shelby Eggers was shot in the leg, the sheriff’s office said.
“Dehart is considered armed and dangerous,” the Blount County Sheriff’s Office said in a release. “If you see Dehart, do not approach him. Call 865-981-7125 immediately if you encounter him or know of his whereabouts.”
State investigators have not revealed why he was stopped, but said DeHart “would not cooperate with deputies and refused to get out of the vehicle.”
“A taser was deployed with no effect. At some point during the encounter, DeHart produced a gun and fired shots, striking both deputies,” TBI officials said.
“At least one of the deputies returned fire. ... DeHart drove away from the scene.”
Both deputies were taken to a hospital, where Deputy McCowan was pronounced dead, officials said.
Deputy Eggers was treated and released, and she is recovering at home, the sheriff’s office said.
Eggers is the officer who returned fire, but investigators have not said if the shots struck the suspect.
Warrants have been issued charging DeHart “with one count of first degree murder, one count of attempted first degree murder, and one count of felon in possession of a weapon,” the TBI said.
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