Yell County, Arkansas Sheriff’s Department Lt. Kevin C. Mainhart, age 46, was killed in Yell County Thursday morning, and the bodies of two other people were found at a nearby home, according to Bill Sadler with Arkansas State Police.
Suspect James Bowden, was holed up inside a home for hours before being arrested Thursday afternoon, according to Sadler.
Lt. Mainhart had served in the Yell County Sheriff’s Office for five years. He had previously served with the West Memphis Police Dept. for more than 20 years.
The two women found dead have not been positively identified. Sadler was unable to release a possible age range of the victims.
Police described Thursday’s chain of events as follows:
Lt. Mainhart was sent to a disturbance call on Gum Springs Road Road when he made a traffic stop on a vehicle on nearby Slo-Fork Road at 7:18 a.m., according to Sadler. The stopped vehicle may have matched the description of a vehicle involved in that disturbance call, Sadler said.
The suspect shot and killed Lt. Mainhart during the traffic stop, Sadler said.
“This deputy checked in for duty this morning not even realizing that this would be his last call,” Sadler said. “Our hearts are saddened and we are in prayer for his family and the officers who were his comrades who serve and protect this county.”
Law enforcement went to the scene of the disturbance call. There, they found the bodies of two women who have not been identified, Sadler said.
Bowden stayed inside of the home, refusing to come out for hours, Sadler said. He kept one woman with him inside as a hostage. He released her about half-an-hour before he came out of the home and surrendered peacefully to law enforcement, Sadler said.
Both Bowden and the hostage were taken to the hospital as part of normal procedure.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson released a statement about Lt. Mainhart’s death:
“Tonight, we send our deepest sympathies to the family of Lieutenant Kevin Mainhart of the Yell County Sherriff’s Department, who was shot and killed in the line of duty earlier today. Lieutenant Mainhart’s 25-year career in law enforcement in West Memphis and Yell County made Arkansas a safer place. Our thoughts, prayers and gratitude are with the Mainhart family and all those who put their own lives in danger to serve and protect.”
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge also released a statement:
“Anytime a member of law enforcement falls in the line of duty, our hearts are broken,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Today, the State of Arkansas mourns the loss of Yell County Sheriff’s Deputy Lt. Kevin Mainhart. As an officer of the law, Lt. Mainhart began his day with one mission: to protect and serve the people of his community. While today will mark his end of watch, he never wavered in his steadfast commitment and responsibility to safeguard his neighbors from harm. As Arkansas’s chief law enforcement officer, I extend my thoughts and prayers to Lt. Mainhart’s family, friends and brothers and sisters in law enforcement across our State, as well as the others who have been injured, brutally attacked and killed in today’s tragic incident in Chickalah.”
An earlier version of this story identified the suspect as James Michael Bowden, age 32, based on information from police. Arkansas State Police called 40/29 News Thursday night, saying they are not positive of the suspect’s middle name or age.