by Loren Haas

On Thursday, August 25, Maryville police officer Kenny Moats died in a shootout with suspect Brian Keith Stalans. Moats, along with a fellow narcotics detective, received a call about a domestic dispute in the Alcoa Trail area when Stalans opened fire, hitting Moats in the neck right above his bulletproof vest.

Stalans also fired at Moats’ fellow deputies, but Moats was the only one who was hit. However, Moats’ partner and another deputy in the shootout have both been placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure in these circumstances.

“Officer Moats’ actions and selfless sacrifice brings great honor upon himself and holds true to the high traditions and expectations of the Maryville Police Department,” said Maryville Police Chief Tony Crisp during Moats’ funeral.

Stalans now faces five criminal charges, including alleged criminal homicide and four accounts of aggravated assault. The preliminary hearing for his case is scheduled for September 15; officials believe that the trial itself will not begin until the spring or summer of 2017. Until then, Stalans will be held on $1.5 million bail.

The Blount County Sheriff, James Berrong, stated in a news conference that he believes the attack was an ambush. While searching the Stalans house, police found a letter, “blaming the Blount County Sheriff’s Office and family members for his misfortunes,” and a homemade barricade for a shootout. The police have not released any further details about the contents of the letter.

Moats, 32, was a member of the Maryville Police Department; his funeral was held on August 30, 2016, where he was awarded the Medal of Valor for his service.