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story.lead_photo.caption Police lights are shown in this file photo.

FORT SMITH -- A 13-hour standoff in southeastern Johnson County on Thursday ended with the man who instigated it appearing to take his own life, authorities said.

Johnson County Sheriff Jimmy Stephens on Friday said after hours of negotiations, the suspect, Wesley Bowden, 39, who the sheriff said is believed to be a resident of the North Little Rock area, died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound during a long standoff involving multiple law enforcement agencies at 1752 Arkansas 359 in the county.

The Johnson County sheriff's office received a call about 11:40 p.m. Wednesday in reference to two individuals stating they had been shot at. These men said they were bond agents for a bonding company out of Pope County, and had tracked Bowden to a location in the Flat Rock community.

Officers with the department arrived at 11:53 p.m., Stephens said, along with two deputies from the Pope County sheriff's office. Stephens arrived about 12:30 a.m. and was able to speak with Bowden. Authorities believe the residence where the standoff occurred belonged to Bowden's girlfriend's parents, who were not present at the time.

"In the course of the gun being fired at the two bond agents, Mr. Bowden's girlfriend elected to flee the scene, and Mr. Bowden had gone into this residence, and well, we started at that point," Stephens said.

"It became pretty evident pretty quick that it would be probably in everyone's best interest to draw on some additional resources and manpower and expertise."

Among the other agencies that were involved in the standoff were the Ozark Police Department, Arkansas State Police and Arkansas Highway Police, according to Stephens.

Stephens said the residence was breached after about 1:30 p.m. Thursday, after a tear-gas-type substance had been used in an effort to get Bowden to come out. Bowden was discovered dead inside the home.

Stephens said Bowden had a felony warrant from the Crawford County sheriff's office for failure to appear on a methamphetamine charge, a misdemeanor failure to appear warrant from the Greenland Police Department, a misdemeanor failure to appear warrant from the Pope County sheriff's office and three misdemeanor warrants out of Paris, Texas.

Bowden also had a felony warrant for aggravated assault and a felony warrant for possession of firearms by certain persons out of the Johnson County sheriff's office that were a result of Bowden shooting at the two bondsmen.

State Desk on 11/23/2019

Print Headline: Standoff ends in death, sheriff says


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