NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Tennessee sheriff's deputy died Tuesday at a Nashville hospital a day after he was shot by a man who then fatally shot himself.
Deputy Richard "Keith" Bellar died at 7:47 a.m. at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Dickson County Sheriff Jeff Bledsoe said. The sheriff, who was visibly upset as he announced the officer's death at the hospital, took no questions from reporters.
Bellar was shot in the head at about 7 a.m. Monday.
Authorities said 27-year-old Jason Eggenberg ran his estranged wife's car off a road and Bellar stopped to assist with what appeared to be a traffic accident. Police said Eggenberg shot Bellar, then killed himself.
"Deputy Bellar was doing what he did best, serving and protecting the citizens of Dickson County," Bledsoe read from a statement.
Bellar was a six-year veteran of the sheriff's department and had previously served with the Tennessee Department of Correction. He is survived by his wife, Brandi Bellar, and their infant son, Jacob.
Michael Kruggel, a retired officer with the Fraternal Order of Police who is assisting the sheriff's office, said Bellar was the fourth officer to die in the line of duty in Tennessee this year.
"These are very tough times for the Dickson County Sheriff's Department as well as all law enforcement officers in the state of Tennessee and the nation," he said.
"It's a sad scenario when a police officer, who believed he was responding to a traffic accident, got killed in the line of duty, doing his job, doing something that he loved," Kruggel said.
Authorities asked for privacy for the deputy's family to give them time to grieve.