*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.
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.
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.