MONTEAGLE, Tenn. – Authorities were searching mountainous terrain Thursday in an "all-out manhunt" for a fugitive accused of fatally shooting a deputy and wounding another officer as they tried to take him into custody.
The officers were serving a warrant for probation violation when shots were fired about 3 a.m., investigators said. Grundy County Sheriff's Deputy Shane Tate died at the scene, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director Mark Gwyn said.
Tate's gun is missing and Gwyn said authorities weren't sure if he was shot with his own weapon.
Monteagle Police Officer Brian Malhoit was grazed by a bullet but not seriously hurt. A reserve deputy also at the scene wasn't injured.
The suspect, 29-year-old tattoo artist Kermit Bryson, was considered armed and dangerous. Authorities were searching around Monteagle, a town of 1,200 people along Interstate 24 about 35 miles northwest of Chattanooga.
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Kristin Helm described it as "an absolute all-out manhunt."
Armed officers from federal, state and local agencies were using tracking dogs and helicopters to comb the rugged area at the southern end of the Cumberland Plateau.
Bryson was described as 5 feet 7 inches tall and 130 pounds, with green eyes and several tattoos. His criminal record includes convictions for theft, burglary and a jail escape in 2001.
Authorities believe he escaped on foot, but Helm said authorities are now trying to determine whether he acquired a vehicle. Authorities offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.
Grundy County Mayor Ladue Bouldin said Tate was married with five young children and had graduated from a law enforcement training academy just two weeks ago.
"With God's blessing, they will catch this criminal," Bouldin said.
Probation officials said the warrant was issued for Bryson because he failed drug screens and violated curfew while on probation for a 2007 felony marijuana possession charge. They had been looking for him for about six to eight months.
Helm said the three officers approached Bryson's mobile home carefully and made their way inside. Officers often serve warrants early in the morning, expecting that suspects will be asleep.
"The officer was actually shot inside the residence," she said.
Bryson's former mother-in-law, Marcia Crowe, said she was surprised to learn he was wanted in a slaying. Bryson was married to her daughter for about a year before they divorced several years ago, and the two have a 10-year-old daughter.
"I saw it on TV and I just couldn't believe it," Crowe, a 57-year-old from Dayton, said in a phone interview. "I expected him to steal, do dope and stuff like that, but I never thought he would kill someone."