Multiple federal, state and local law enforcement agencies have joined a manhunt for a suspect police say killed a sheriff’s deputy last week during a traffic stop.
A reward for the man, who police say also shot another deputy during the stop, is now worth $100,000 for anyone who can help catch the alleged killer.
Blount County Sheriff’s Office Deputies Greg McGowan and Shelby Eggers pulled over 42-year-old Kenneth Dehart during a routine traffic stop last Thursday in the community of Maryville, WTVF reported.
According to police, Dehart was uncooperative and was ultimately tased. Somehow, the Blount County Sheriff’s Office said, he managed to gain possession of a firearm, and he shot both deputies.
McGowan died of his injuries at the age of 43.
In the days since the murder, the sheriff’s office has sought Dehart, but investigators have had no luck locating him.
Dehart is pictured below:
According to WTVF, the small sheriff’s department now has some help as the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Marshal’s Service and numerous area law enforcement agencies are each lending resources to catching Dehart, who is considered armed and dangerous.
Deputies from neighboring counties are also helping Blount County deputies by picking up their shifts, and others are looking after McGowan’s grieving family.
Blount County Sheriff James Lee Berrong issued a statement about McGowan’s slaying in which he said he would like to see the suspect in custody as soon as possible.
“I want closure soon,” the sheriff said. “I want to go to that funeral on Wednesday and not have to think about this animal on the street that killed one of my deputies in cold blood.”
Berrong concluded, “I want him in custody when I go to that funeral. Whether that happens or not, God will let us know, he’ll put him in the right place for us to apprehend him.”
According to the sheriff’s office, McGowan was previously a reserve deputy who worked full-time in manufacturing but had a passion for law enforcement.
He was in his fourth year as a full-time deputy when he was gunned down.
“Deputy McCowan excelled during the academy, and following his graduation in October 2020, he served as a patrol deputy on evening shift,” the sheriff’s office said on Facebook. “He was awarded the Sheriff’s Office Lifesaving commendation in April 2021 for his part in saving the life of a man trapped in a burning vehicle.”
According to an obituary for McGowan, the deputy was “full of love and life” and had hobbies in racing, motorcycles and car restoration.
More than anything, McGowan loved his children, a granddaughter and his fiancé. His family said that becoming a full-time police officer was his life’s dream.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.