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Tennessee sheriff releases video of traffic stop shooting that left a deputy dead and another injured

By Jamiel Lynch, CNN

(CNN) — The Blount County Sheriff’s office in Tennessee released body and dash camera video on Friday showing what led up to the shooting of two deputies during a traffic stop last week that triggered a dayslong manhunt for the gunman.

The video shows the February 8 traffic stop begin with conversation and escalate into a shooting, with one deputy killed and another wounded and flagging down drivers for help.

Kenneth DeHart was arrested Tuesday and charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and being a felon in possession of a weapon in connection with the shooting, according to the Blount County District Attorney General Ryan Desmond.

DeHart was taken into custody several days after fleeing the shooting scene, where authorities say he fatally shot Deputy Greg McCowan and injured Deputy Shelby Eggers.

CNN has reached out to DeHart’s public defender for comment.

The video footage – which is taken from the body and dash cameras of both officers, and edited by the sheriff’s office – shows Eggers following a car driven by DeHart. From her dash camera video, the vehicle appears to cross the center line multiple times.

After they pull over and converse for a few minutes, Eggers tells DeHart that he had been driving on the wrong side of the road, to which he replies that he was busy tying his hair up and didn’t notice, the video shows.

Eggers asks DeHart several times to exit the vehicle, saying she suspected him of smoking marijuana. DeHart refuses to get out of the vehicle and repeatedly denies smoking marijuana, according to the video.

“I’m refusing the search, ma’am. I do not smoke marijuana,” DeHart replied.

Eggers is then heard on the video telling DeHart that if he doesn’t step out of the car, “we’re going to have to drag you out of the car and then you’re going to go to jail. So, you can either step out of the car or I can pull you out of the car.”

The second deputy, McCowan, then arrives at the scene and approaches the vehicle from the driver’s side, instructing DeHart to step out of the car. DeHart again refuses and Eggers opens the car door and attempts to pull DeHart out as he resists, video shows.

McCowan deploys his taser twice, but DeHart remains inside the vehicle and refuses to come out, saying “I didn’t do nothing,” according to the video.

Eggers tries again unsuccessfully to get DeHart, and McCowan fires his taser again, video shows. Eggers is then seen retreating from the vehicle, saying, “I’ve been tased.”

The police video shows DeHart shut the car door and then appear to fire several gunshots.

Body camera shows McCowan dropping to the ground. McCowan’s dash camera video shows Eggers getting shot and limping away toward a patrol car.

DeHart then fires an additional shot before driving away as Eggers fires at the fleeing car, the police video shows.

Wounded deputy flags down drivers for help

After the shooting, Eggers radioes that she and McCowan had been hit and flags down a vehicle. She calls for McCowan, but gets no response.

“Help, I’ve been shot!” she is heard telling two motorists. “I’ve been shot, I need your help!”

She instructed a motorist to help her partner and another to help her put a tourniquet on her leg.

One of the civilians who had checked on McCowan said he wasn’t breathing. Other officers arrive a short time later.

“I’m right here – I’m okay – Take care of Greg,” she tells the officers, referring to McCowan.

Authorities later announced McCowan was killed in the shooting. The incident triggered a multi-day search for DeHart, including through wooded areas, as authorities warned the public of an armed and dangerous suspect.

Eggers has since been released from the hospital.

McCowan, who was laid to rest on Wednesday, started at the Blount County Sheriff’s Office in 2020, Sheriff James Lee Berrong said earlier this week. He was awarded a lifesaving commendation in April 2021 for saving the life of a man trapped in a burning vehicle. Berrong described him as someone who was “always smiling and friendly to everyone.”

“I am releasing the following video synopsis of the ruthless murder of Deputy Greg McCowan and senseless serious injury of Deputy Shelby Eggers,” Berrong said in a post on Facebook after releasing the video. “I am doing so to ensure that my agency is transparent and open about the events that led up to this defenseless act.”

“I, alongside the women and men of the Blount County Sheriff’s Office and many other agencies, remain committed to ensuring the suspect is swiftly, justly, and lawfully convicted of the crimes depicted here,” the sheriff added.

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