Suspect in Tenn. deputy's killing shoots himself, dies - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Suspect in Tenn. deputy's killing shoots himself, dies

MONTEAGLE, Tenn. (AP) - A man suspected of killing a sheriff's deputy and wounding another officer died Friday morning after shooting himself at the end of a daylong manhunt, authorities said.

Kermit Bryson, 29, died around 12:30 a.m. at Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga, said David Trillet, a supervisor at the hospital.

The death ended an ordeal that began before dawn Thursday morning when three officers went to a Monteagle mobile home to serve Bryson with a warrant for probation violation.

Authorities say Bryson shot and killed Grundy County Sheriff's Deputy Shane Tate, 28. Another police officer was grazed by a bullet but not seriously hurt.

Bryson fled and kicked off what Tennessee Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Kristin Helm called "an absolute all-out manhunt."

Dozens of officers from federal, state and local agencies used dogs, helicopters and roadblocks to search the rugged terrain surrounding the town on the southern end of the Cumberland Plateau, about 35 miles northwest of Chattanooga.

They found him Thursday night behind his girlfriend's mobile home about three miles away from where the deputy was killed. Agents tried negotiating with Bryson for about 20 minutes and didn't fire any shots, TBI director Mark Gwyn said.

Then Bryson shot himself in the head.

"We gave it the best effort we could," Gwyn said.

Survivors of both Bryson and Tate were left without any clear explanation for what happened.

Bryson had a long criminal record, including convictions for theft, burglary and escape, but he had no record of violent crimes.

Probation officials said his warrant was issued because he failed drug screens and violated curfew while on probation for a 2007 felony marijuana possession charge.

A neighbor and longtime friend of Bryson's said shooting someone was out of character.       "He's not a bad guy. He had to freak out in some way," said Tim D. Sanders, 30, before authorities found Bryson.

"I expected him to steal, do dope and stuff like that, but I never thought he would kill someone," said Marcia Crowe, Bryson's former mother-in-law. She said he was a good father to his 10-year-old daughter.

Sanders said he and Bryson served time together last summer on weekends in the county jail. Tate was their jailer, and Sanders said Tate and Bryson had been friendly.

Tate went on to attend the Tennessee Law Enforcement Training Academy and graduated just two weeks ago. Grundy County Mayor Ladue Bouldin said Tate was married with five young children.

Brian Grisham, director of the training academy, called Tate a good officer and person.

"He seemed enthusiastic about what he was about to do," Grisham said.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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