Fugitive’s brother, girlfriend arrested amid manhunt for suspect accused of killing deputy

The brother and girlfriend of a Tennessee man accused of shooting two deputies during a traffic stop, killing one of them, have been arrested amid a manhunt for the fugitive, according to authorities and court documents.

Kenneth DeHart, 42, is wanted on first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder charges in connection with the shooting of two Blount County deputies, state police said. He also faces one count of being a felon in possession of a weapon.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has Kenneth DeHart on its “most wanted” list.

The incident occurred Thursday evening in the 4900 block of Sevierville Road in Maryville, the sheriff’s office said. “Erratic driving” prompted the traffic stop, police said. Details on what led up to the shooting have not been released.

The last known location of Kenneth DeHart was in the Wildwood area, the sheriff’s office said. He is believed to be on foot and is considered armed and dangerous, the sheriff’s office said.

Amid the search, the suspect’s brother and girlfriend have been arrested in connection with the case on the charge of accessory after the fact, according to officials and court documents.

The suspect’s brother — Marcus DeHart, 41 — was taken into custody Friday “for aiding the defendant after the commission of the homicide,” Blount County District Attorney General Ryan Desmond said during a press briefing. He is being held on a $1 million bond and is scheduled to appear in court on Monday, Desmond said.

The suspect’s girlfriend — Carrie Mathews, 32 — was also booked into custody in Sevier County after local deputies interviewed her about Kenneth DeHart’s whereabouts, according to an arrest warrant affidavit. While being interviewed at her residence Thursday night, Mathews took a call from someone purportedly named “Janeisha” who was later determined to actually be Kenneth DeHart, according to the affidavit. Mathews allegedly told the caller, “They’re here,” which the affiant claimed warned Kenneth DeHart “of impending apprehension or discovery,” according to the affidavit.

It is unclear if the two alleged accessories have an attorney at this time.

Authorities said they are unable to release any additional details on the case at this time.

A #TNBlueAlert has been issued for 42 y/o Kenneth Wayne DeHart.

He is wanted by the TBI and the Blount County Sheriff’s Office for Assault on two law enforcement officers.

He should be considered armed and dangerous.

Have info? Call 1-800-TBI-FIND. pic.twitter.com/0XyToKWlXa

— Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (@TBInvestigation) February 9, 2024

More than $80,000 in reward money is being offered for information leading to the fugitive’s arrest, according to the Blount County sheriff. That includes a $40,000 reward being offered by Smith & Wesson, which is headquartered in Maryville.

The Blount County Sheriff’s Office urged those in the Wildwood area with outdoor security or doorbell camera video systems to check for video or photos of “possible suspicious persons or activity that may have occurred near your resident overnight.”

“We will get this man off the streets of East Tennessee and put him behind bars,” Blount County Sheriff James Berrong said during a press briefing early Friday.

A visibly emotional Berrong identified the deceased deputy as Greg McCowan during the briefing.

“I’m so sorry that we’ve lost a young man. I talked to his family earlier. I apologized for not protecting him,” Berrong said.

McCowan, 43, began working with the sheriff’s office in 2020, after making a career change from manufacturing. He was commended by the sheriff’s office in April 2021 for helping save the life of a man trapped in a burning vehicle. He enjoyed riding motorcycles and restoring old vehicles, the sheriff’s office said.

“Deputy McCowan was a hero both in life and in his death,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement. “Sheriff Berrong and our deputies are heartbroken at his senseless death.”

He is survived by his fiancé, two children, granddaughter and parents.

Deputy Shelby Eggers, 22, who returned fire during the incident, was shot in the leg, the sheriff’s office said. She has since been released from an area hospital.

ABC News’ Ahmad Hemingway contributed to this report.

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