Manhunt-A manhunt is underway in east Tennessee as law enforcement officers intensify efforts to locate and apprehend Kenneth Dehart, a 42-year-old suspect accused of fatally shooting a sheriff’s deputy and injuring another during a routine traffic stop. The incident, which occurred on Thursday, has sent shockwaves through the community and prompted a large-scale search operation spearheaded by the Blount County Sheriff’s Office.
Manhunt-Dehart, wanted on multiple warrants including first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, and felon in possession of a firearm, has become the subject of a statewide manhunt. Blount County Sheriff James Lee Berrong identified the slain officer as Deputy Greg McCowan, while also disclosing that a second officer sustained injuries and is currently undergoing treatment at a local hospital.
The tragedy unfolded in Blount County, nestled in the vicinity of Maryville, approximately 30 miles west of Gatlinburg. In response to the severity of the situation, the Blount County Mayor’s Office has offered a substantial $10,000 reward for any information leading to Dehart’s arrest.
Authorities caution the public that Dehart should be considered armed and dangerous, advising against approaching him directly and urging individuals to promptly notify law enforcement if they encounter any relevant information. According to the sheriff’s office, Dehart is believed to be traveling on foot, with his last known location traced to the Wildwood area within the county.
Details surrounding the initial confrontation between the deputies and Dehart remain sparse, with the sheriff’s office yet to provide comprehensive insights into the sequence of events that led to the tragic altercation. However, Sheriff Berrong indicated that the shooting ensued subsequent to a routine traffic stop, with the injured deputy returning fire in self-defense. The extent of any injuries sustained by Dehart remains uncertain at this juncture.
The incident unfolded along the 4900 block of Sevierville Road, prompting authorities to cordon off a section of the road indefinitely as investigations persist. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has been enlisted to assist in the search efforts and has issued a statewide blue alert, heightening awareness and urging residents to remain vigilant.
As the manhunt intensifies, the community grapples with the shock and grief of losing a dedicated law enforcement officer in the line of duty. The tragic incident serves as a stark reminder of the risks faced by those who bravely serve to uphold public safety, prompting an outpouring of support and solidarity for the fallen deputy’s family and colleagues.
Efforts to locate and apprehend Dehart remain ongoing, with law enforcement agencies deploying all available resources to ensure swift justice and prevent any further harm to the community. The collective resolve to bring the perpetrator to justice underscores the unwavering commitment of law enforcement agencies to protect and serve with honor and valor.