YELL COUNTY, Ark. – Funeral arrangements were announced Friday for Lt. Kevin C. Mainhart, 46, who was shot to death Thursday by a suspect in Chickalah.
The visitation will be held at Cornwell Funeral Home in Dardanelle Sunday, May 14, from 1 – 6 p.m.
The memorial service will be held at First Assembly of God in Russellville Monday, May 15, at 2 p.m.
Funeral arrangements for the two females also killed Thursday by the suspect have not yet been announced.
YELL COUNTY, Ark. – A Dardanelle man is being held at the Conway County Jail facing Capital Murder charges after a chain of events near the Chickalah community Thursday morning left three people dead, including a local sheriff’s deputy.
In a Thursday afternoon news conference, the Arkansas State Police (ASP) identified the man as James Bowden, 42. The ASP said Bowden had been taken into custody without incident after a standoff situation at 12084 Gum Springs Road. A woman Bowden had held inside a home was freed around 2:40 p.m., the ASP said.
Bowden is charged in the shooting deaths of Lt. Kevin C. Mainhart, 46, and two females, whose names have not yet been released.
“He was an example of what a law enforcement officer should be,” Yell Co. Sheriff Bill Gilkey said at the news conference. “From the time that he arrived he was a leader not only in the department but the community as well.”
We spoke to the suspect’s sister by phone Thursday afternoon.
“It was very hard. He didn’t want to come out. He thought that he would be shot,” said Julie Bowden Inmon. “Jamie has been mentally ill for a little while now. He has been in and out of the mental hospital. We didn’t expect anything of this caliber to happen.”
“We’re very sorry for what happened,” she continued. “We wish it could have been different. My brother actually told me on the phone that he wished things hadn’t happened this way.”
The ASP said Bowden had been holed up inside the home since at least 10 a.m. and SWAT officers had been negotiating with him.
The deputy killed earlier Thursday has been identified as Lieutenant Kevin C. Mainhart, 46, of the Yell County Sheriff’s Office. He was killed in the line of duty during a traffic stop west of Dardanelle along State Highway 27 near the junction of Slo Fork Road.
Lt. Mainhart had served the citizens of Yell County as a law enforcement officer for five years and previously retired from the West Memphis Police Department following a career of more than 20 years.
The deadly string of events had begun before 7:15 a.m.. Shortly after that time, Lt. Mainhart had made a traffic stop after identifying a vehicle believed to be associated with a disturbance call at 10024 Gum Springs Road. During the course of the traffic stop the deputy was fatally wounded. A short time later a driver passing the scene notified local law enforcement that Lt. Mainhart had been shot.
As other local officers arrived at the Gum Springs address, the bodies of two other individuals were found outside the home. The ASP said Thursday afternoon that the identities of the victims were not yet known.
Before Lt. Mainhart’s name was released by the ASP, he had been identified earlier in the day by the West Memphis Fire Department (WMFD), which said he had served as law enforcement in West Memphis for 20 years before moving back home to the River Valley. The graduate of Russellville High School he had also worked for Arkansas Tech and as security police in the U.S. Air Force, the WMFD said.
As the situation continued to unfold Thursday morning, a woman who lives in the area of Gum Springs Road told our crew at the scene that a SWAT team officer told her “an officer’s been shot” when residents were evacuated from their homes.
Arkansas State Police officials would say only that it was an “extremely sensitive situation.”
Three officials issued the following statements on the officer’s death:
“I extend my thoughts and prayers to the family of Lieutenant Kevin Mainhart. He died serving and protecting the citizens of Yell County. While we do not yet fully know the circumstances that led to his death, we know that any death in the line of duty is one too many. These acts of violence against our law enforcement must come to an end,” said 4th District Rep. Bruce Westerman.
“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,” said Gov. Asa Hutchinson.
“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,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge.
Meanwhile, a candlelight vigil is being held at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in honor of three people killed in two shooting incidents this morning. The citizens of Yell County and surrounding areas will gather on the Arkansas River in Dardanelle.