ActivePaper Archive Suspect shoots self; deputy gunned down - Chattanooga, 6/6/2008

Suspect shoots self; deputy gunned down

Suspect in critical condition at Erlanger

Staff Photo by Gillian Bolsover

A Tennessee Bureau of Investigation official works at the trailer where Grundy County Deputy Shane Tate was killed Thursday. Deputy Tate and two other officers were inside Kermit Bryson’s trailer attempting to serve a warrant early Thursday when Mr. Bryson fired at the officers.


Kermit Eugene Bryson

Staff Photo by Gillian Bolsover

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation officials work at the trailer where Grundy County Deputy Shane Tate was killed Thursday.

Staff Photo by Angela Lewis

Sgt. James Sells shows a driver a photograph of Kermit Eugene Bryson as he and Trooper Chris Adams block access to Monteagle Falls Road on Thursday.

Staff Photo by Angela Lewis

Officers search property on U.S. Highway 41 on Thursday during a manhunt for Kermit Eugene Bryson, who is suspected of killing Grundy County Deputy Shane Tate.

Staff Photo by Angela Lewis

Dunlap, Tenn., SWAT team members get ready to participate in a search for Kermit Eugene Bryson.

Online: See

Thursday morning’s news conference and hear Grundy County Mayor LaDue “Boo” Boulder talk about the loss of slain Deputy Shane Tate. Watch a slide show.

MONTEAGLE, Tenn. — The suspect in the Thursday morning killing of a Grundy County sheriff’s deputy was surrounded Thursday night after a manhunt and shot himself in the yard of his girlfriend’s mother, authorities said.

An agent with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had been negotiating with Kermit Eugene Bryson, 30, before Mr. Bryson shot himself in the head about 7 p.m. CDT.

He was flown by Life Force air ambulance to Erlanger hospital in Chattanooga, where he was listed in critical condition late Thursday, officials said.

“It’s a sad day for everyone. We lost one of our own,” TBI Director Mark Gwyn said at a news conference Thursday night. “We would have rather taken Kermit Bryson into custody without him doing this, but we had no control over that. We gave it the best effort we could. The ATF agent did everything in his power to negotiate.”

Grundy County Deputy Shane Tate was shot about 3 a.m. CDT Thursday at a mobile home on Monteagle Falls Road, authorities said.

Kristen Helm with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said Deputy Tate, along with a Grundy County reserve deputy and Monteagle police officer Brian Malhoit, went to Mr. Bryson’s trailer to serve a warrant on a probation violation.

They parked down the road and walked to the trailer at 1111 Monteagle Falls Road, she said.

“They approached the house very carefully,” Ms. Helm said. “They had good information that he was indeed there.”

The officers announced themselves and entered the trailer.

“The officer was actually shot inside the residence,” she said. Mr. Bryson fled the mobile home, acquired a pair of blue jeans, a blue shirt and white sneakers and vanished on foot.

He faces charges of firstdegree murder and attempted first-degree murder, she said.

Police nearly immediately began a manhunt.

All day Thursday people living between Monteagle and Tracy City watched from their yards as helicopters from the Tennessee Highway Patrol and the Warren County Sheriff ’s Department whirled overhead and search teams of deputies combed back roads and wooded areas for Mr. Bryson.

At the staging area at the Tennessee National Guard Armory near Monteagle, teams of officers departed but returned grim-faced when they still hadn’t located Mr. Bryson. Officers occasionally escorted people inside the armory for interviews, but apparently no one was able to lead them to the suspect until they got a tip later in the day that Mr. Bryson was at his girlfriend’s mother’s house.

Tim D. Sanders, 30, said he grew up with Mr. Bryson and once was in jail with him when Deputy Tate was a jailer.

Mr. Sanders said the two men were on friendly terms then.

“They never had no cross words. I think this was just a jolt reaction,” Mr. Sanders said. “He had to have freaked out in some way.”

Deputy Tate, a 29-year-old who graduated from the police academy about two weeks ago, was dead at the scene. He was a three-year employee of the Grundy County Sheriff’s Office and had been on patrol for about a year, according to officials.

Officer Malhoit, 26, was grazed by a bullet and treated at a Sewanee hospital for injuries that were not life-threatening, police said. The reserve deputy was not injured, they said.

The TBI is investigating whether the officers returned fire at the trailer, and Deputy Tate’s body was taken to Nashville for an autopsy, Ms. Helm said.

TBI Director Mark Gwynn said earlier Thursday that Deputy Tate’s duty weapon, a 9 mm Glock handgun, had not been found and that Mr. Bryson was believed to have at least one gun in his possession. Mr. Gwynn said he didn’t know if the deputy had a police radio or if it had been accounted for.

Mr. Bryson was “considered armed and extremely dangerous,” Mr. Gwynn said.

“This is traumatic for everybody,” he said. “There’s nothing that gets any worse than someone being killed while trying to protect and serve.”

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