At the request of 5th Judicial District Attorney General Ryan Desmond, TBI agents are investigating the circumstances leading to an officer-involved shooting that occurred Thursday evening involving deputies with the Blount County Sheriff’s Office.
Preliminary information indicates that just before 8:30 p.m. Thursday, deputies with the Blount County Sheriff’s Office initiated a traffic stop on an SUV in the 4900 block of Sevierville Road in Maryville. The driver, identified as Kenneth Wayne DeHart Jr. (DOB: 1/12/82), would not cooperate with deputies and refused to get out of the vehicle. A taser was deployed with no effect. At some point during the encounter, DeHart produced a gun and fired shots, striking both deputies. At least one of the deputies returned fire. One deputy was transported to an area hospital, where he later died. The other deputy was also transported with serious but non-life-threatening injuries. DeHart drove away from the scene.
Early Friday morning, TBI agents obtained warrants charging Kenneth DeHart with one count of First Degree Murder, one count of Attempted First Degree Murder, and one count of Felon in Possession of a Weapon. A statewide Blue Alert was issued for DeHart, and he was added to the TBI Most Wanted list. He has not been located and is the subject of a search by local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies.
At this time, the investigation remains active and ongoing, as TBI agents continue to gather any and all relevant evidence, interviews, and information. Throughout the process, investigative findings will be shared with the District Attorney General for his further review and consideration.
The TBI does not identify the officers involved in these types of incidents and instead refers questions of that nature to the respective department to answer as it sees fit.