An Arkansas man killed two women and then fatally shot a Yell County Sheriff’s Department deputy before barricading himself inside a home in Dardanelle for several hours on Thursday, authorities say.
James Michael Bowden, 32, eventually surrendered to police at 2:40 p.m., the Arkansas State Police said in a press release.
The two women who were killed have not yet been identified. State Police identified the fallen deputy as Lieutenant Kevin Mainhart, 46.
Bowden was taken to the hospital for an examination and will then be taken to the Conway County Jail, where he will be held in connection with the three homicides, police said. He will be charged with three counts of capital murder.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Bowden’s Father Says His Son Suffered From Mental Health Issues & ‘Snapped’
James Bowden’s father said his son has mental issues and “snapped.”
Bowden lived in Dardanville and attended Russellville High School. According to his Facebook page, which includes several photos of his children, he is in a relationship.
His sister, Julie, told KARK-TV, the family is “very sorry,” and “feels terrible” about what happened, saying they “never expected anything of this caliber” to occur.
She said that Bowden is a father of three children, two sons and a daughter, and was also a father to his girlfriend’s children.
“We are very sorry for what happened. Of course we wish things didn’t happen this way,” Julie told the news station. “The only thing I can say is that we are very sorry and our heart goes out to them.”
2. Bowden Killed 2 Women, Who Have Not Yet Been Identified, at a Home in Dardanelle
Bowden is accused of killing two women at a home in Dardanelle on Thursday morning, the Arkansas State Police said in a press release. The women have not yet been identified.
The two victims were found outside the home on Gum Springs Road, police said. Authorities have not yet released how the women were killed.
Few details about the killings have been made public.
3. The Deputy Was Fatally Shot While Responding to the Disturbance at the Home Where Bowden Is Accused of Killing the Other Victims
Lieutenant Kevin Mainhart was responding to a disturbance at the Gum Springs Road home in Dardanelle where the two women had been killed when he was fatally shot by Bowden, the Arkansas State Police said.
Mainhart had stopped Bowden along State Highway 27 near the junction of Slo-Fork Road about 7:15 a.m., state police said. He was killed during the stop.
“During the course of the traffic stop the deputy was fatally wounded,” police said. A short-time later a motorist passing the site notified local law enforcement Lieutenant Mainhart had been shot.”
“As other local officers arrived at the Gum Springs address, the deceased bodies of two other individuals were found outside the residence,” police said.
4. He Surrendered to Police After Holding His Girlfriend Hostage in a Standoff That Lasted Several Hours
After fatally shooting the Yell County deputy, James Bowden retreated to the home where the first two killings had occurred, and barricaded himself inside while taking his girlfriend hostage, KARK-TV reports.
Police, including members of a SWAT team, surrounded the home and began negotiating with Bowden. He eventually released his girlfriend before later surrendering to the officers.
He was arrested at “2:40 p.m., after a five hours standoff with the Arkansas State Police and local law enforcement agencies. He was taken into custody at a residence,” state police said.
His sister, Julie, told the news station Bowden did not want to surrender.
“It was very hard. He didn’t want to come out. He thought that he’d be shot,” Julie told the news station.
She said she was able to speak to her brother on the phone and urged him to turn himself in. She also played a recording from her father relaying the same message. About an hour after Julie spoke to her brother, he gave himself up to officers and was arrested.
His girlfriend is safe and was taken to a hospital to be evaluated. She will later be interviewed by investigators.
5. The Slain Deputy Worked in Yell County for 5 Years After More Than 20 Years in West Memphis
Lieutenant Kevin Mainhart, 46, had been a deputy with the Yell County Sheriff’s Department for about five years, the Arkansas State Police said in a press release. He previously worked for the West Memphis Police Department for 20 years.
Yell County Sheriff Bill Gilkey told reporters Mainhart was a “very respected” officer in the community. He joined the department after retiring as a captain with the West Memphis Police.
“From the moment he arrived, he was a leader not only in the department but in the community of Yell County as well,” Gilkey said.
Mainhart also worked at Arkansas Tech and as a security police officer in the Air Force. He graduated from Russellville High School.
“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,” Governor Asa Hutchinson said in a statement. “Our thoughts, prayers and gratitude are with the Mainhart family and all those who put their own lives in danger to serve and protect.”
“Anytime a member of law enforcement falls in the line of duty, our hearts are broken. 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,” Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said in a statement. “While today will mark his end of watch, he never wavered in his steadfast commitment and responsibility to safeguard his neighbors from harm.”