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Manhunt underway for Tennessee man suspected of fatally shooting sheriff’s deputy and injuring another, officials say

More than 150 law enforcement personnel are searching for a man in east Tennessee accused of fatally shooting a Blount County deputy and injuring another deputy during a traffic stop on Thursday, authorities say.

Kenneth DeHart, 42, is wanted on warrants of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and being a felon in possession of a firearm, according to the Blount County Sheriff’s Office.

Officers have searched dense and wooded areas in hopes of finding DeHart, Blount County Chief Deputy Jeff French said in a video posted on the office’s Facebook page.

“We’ve done search warrants, and we’ve followed up on every tip that we’ve gotten,” French said. “No tip is too big or too small. We appreciate the community sending us those. We ask that you continue to do that, and we’re going to continue to follow up on it.”

French said the department will continue to work tirelessly until they bring DeHart into custody.

Deputy Greg McCowan - Blount County Sheriff’s Office
Deputy Greg McCowan - Blount County Sheriff’s Office

“We’re not going to stop,” he said.

On Friday, the suspect’s brother was arrested and charged with accessory after the fact, Blount County District Attorney Ryan Desmond said at a news conference. He is being held on a $1 million bond and is accused of aiding the suspect after the commission of a homicide. The brother is due in court on Monday, Desmond added.

Berrong also confirmed to reporters a woman had been arrested in connection to the incident and was transported to the Sevier County Jail.

The woman arrested is DeHart’s girlfriend, a Sevier County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson confirmed to CNN on Sunday. She is currently being held without bond, according to Sevier County jail records.

The search for DeHart continues, said Sheriff James Lee Berrong. On Saturday, the sheriff’s department increased the reward for information leading to DeHart’s capture to $100,000.

“We are committed to track him down. It might be today or tomorrow, but we are going to get him and he’s going to be brought to justice in Blount County,” he said.

The officer killed was Deputy Greg McCowan, according to Berrong. A second officer, Deputy Shelby Eggers, was injured after returning fire. She was treated at a hospital and released, the sheriff’s office said Friday.

McCowan’s SUV can be seen parked in front of the sheriff’s office, festooned with flowers and a wreath, in a photo posted on the the Blount County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page.

Blount County Sheriff's Office
Blount County Sheriff's Office

DeHart is believed to be traveling on foot and should be considered “armed and dangerous,” the sheriff’s office said. People were advised to not approach the suspect and should instead contact law enforcement.

His last known location was in the county’s Wildwood area, according to the sheriff’s office.

Blount County, home to the city of Maryville, is about 30 miles west of Gatlinburg.

The sheriff’s office has not provided details on what led to the initial encounter between the deputies and the suspect.

The sheriff said the shooting happened after a traffic stop, and the deputy who was shot in the leg “returned fire.” It’s unclear if the suspect was also wounded.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is assisting in the search and has issued a statewide blue alert for DeHart.

This story has been updated with additional information.

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