What to know about Greg McCowan and Shelby Eggers, Blount County deputies shot Feb. 8

0
430

*Originally Published in the Knoxville News Sentinel
By Liz Kellar

The two Blount County sheriff’s deputies who were shot, one fatally, during a traffic stop Thursday night were new to law enforcement, Sheriff James Lee Berrong said in a Feb. 9 Facebook post.

Berrong was visibly emotional during an early morning press conference in which he detailed the death of Deputy Greg McCowan and the wounding of Deputy Shelby Eggers onFeb. 8 during a traffic stop on Sevierville Road in Maryville.

“I talked to his family earlier,” he said of McCowan. “I apologize for not protecting him.”

Deputy Greg McCowan: From manufacturing to policing at 43

McCowan was 43 and began his full-time career at Blount County Sheriff’s Office in 2020 in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Berrong said.

Need a Gun Safe? Call Mark Brasfield personally at 615-255-0500

McCowan previously had worked in manufacturing, but he was always interested in law enforcement, Berrong said, adding that McCowan had served as a reserve deputy before being hired as a patrol deputy. He attended the Blount County Sheriff’s Office Regional Law Enforcement Academy and graduated in October 2020.

Blount County Sheriff's Deputy Greg McCowan was shot and killed Feb. 8, 2024.

Following graduation, McCowan served as a patrol deputy on the evening shift, Berrong said. 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.

The male driver had struck a house with his vehicle and the accelerator was still pressed to the floor causing the tires to spin. The disoriented man was inside the vehicle and physically resisted the law enforcement officers’ efforts to remove him from the vehicle. McCowan assisted in the successful effort to remove the man from the car.

 

MAY 12, 2021

BLOUNT COUNTY DEPUTIES, TROOPER, RECEIVE LIFESAVING COMMENDATIONS

MARYVILLE, TENNESSEE – Blount County Sheriff James Lee Berrong is proud to announce that four deputies and a Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper were recipients of lifesaving commendations for saving the life of a man who was trapped in a burning vehicle. On March 15, 2021, Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the call of a vehicle fire on Defoe Circle with the driver still inside. The male driver struck the house with his vehicle and the accelerator was still pressed to the floor causing the tires to spin.

Pictured below: Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Evan Lane, Cpl. Nick Nitzband, Deputy Austin Kirkland, Deputy Greg McCowan, and Deputy Christina Wallen.

This resulted in a friction fire which advanced to the vehicle. Deputy Christina Wallen was the first to arrive on the scene and discovered the disoriented man inside the vehicle clinging to the steering wheel and incoherent. Deputy Wallen described the vehicle on fire and spreading, causing peril to the man and the other deputies and a Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper while attempting to extract him from the vehicle. The man, who was suffering from a medical emergency, physically resisted the law enforcement officers’ efforts to remove him from the vehicle. Attempts to extinguish the fire with a fire extinguisher did not work. Other deputies, including Austin Kirkland, Greg McCowan, Cpl. Nick Nitzband, and Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Evan Lane, along with members of the Blount County Fire Department were all on the scene assisting. Firefighters sprayed the vehicle to control the fire while deputies continued to try to awaken and dislodge the man from the car. Efforts to rescue the man from his burning vehicle were finally successful and deputies, one of whom is a certified Emergency Medical Responder, began to administer aid to him prior to the arrival of AMR Ambulance. The man had no recollection of what had transpired. He was taken by AMR to Blount Memorial Hospital where he received treatment. The quick actions of Deputy Wallen, Deputy Kirkland, Deputy McCowan, Cpl. Nitzband, and Trooper Evan Lane likely saved the life of the victim.

The four deputies received the Sheriff’s Office Lifesaving Award. The Lifesaving Award is conferred upon a sworn or civilian employee who is directly responsible for saving a life, or where there is evidence that an employee’s actions prolonged a human life. Trooper Evan lane was awarded the Law Enforcement Commendation, which is awarded to a law enforcement officer from another agency who brings credit to themselves, their agency, and the Blount County Sheriff’s Office for an exceptional act of valor that aids someone who is clearly in need, and who goes above and beyond for an individual, while the law enforcement officer is on or off duty.

Sheriff Berrong congratulates all of these law enforcement officers for their heroic act. Thank you!

To read the rest of the story visit Knoxville News Sentinel.