Former West Memphis police officer shot, killed in Arkansas; suspect in custody

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YELL COUNTY, Ark. -- The Yell County suspect accused of shooting and killing three individuals including a former West Memphis police officer has been taken into custody, officials said.

According to the Arkansas State Police, Lieutenant Kevin Mainhart pulled over a vehicle believed to be connected to a domestic disturbance call in the 10,000 block of Gum Springs Road.

The driver reportedly opened fire on Mainhart then fled the scene.

Shortly after the shooting, a passing motorist saw the wounded deputy and called 911. He later died from his injuries.

When other deputies arrived at the home on Gum Springs, they discovered two deceased females outside. Those victims have not been identified at this time.

Authorities said the suspect, who was later identified as James Bowden, barricaded himself inside a nearby home with several hostages following the shooting.

Thankfully, he let one female hostage go. She was questioned by police about the incident.

Five hours later, Bowden was taken into custody and transported to the Conway County Jail.

Mainhart was a 20-year veteran of the West Memphis Police Department before he moved five years ago.

"He spent the majority of his career in the patrol division. He came up through there. He was a sergeant, lieutenant, then made captain. He spent time in our court division where he finished out his career," Capt. Joe Baker said.

Baker said Mainhart left West Memphis in 2013 to be closer to his family.

"We're kind of shocked. Take a guy who's worked the majority of his career in a very busy place like West Memphis and chooses to go finish it out closer to home in what seems like a smaller, slower pace area, to hear the news like this shocked us all. It goes to show you in this line of work you never know what could happen anywhere," Baker said.

Yell County Sheriff Bill Gilkey said Mainhart would be greatly missed by friends and his community.

"Mainhart came to work every day with great work ethic. He was fair-minded and fair with people he dealt with, a great father, husband and friend," Gilkey said.

Governor Asa Hutchinson released a statement Thursday afternoon saying, "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.”



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