DARDANELLE, Ark. (CN) – An Arkansas sheriff’s deputy was among three people found dead Thursday morning in rural Yell County, where police spent the afternoon working to convince the suspected shooter to surrender.
Lt. Kevin Mainhart, 46, of the Yell County Sheriff’s Department was shot dead during a traffic stop on his way to a domestic disturbance call at approximately 7:18 a.m., according to an Arkansas State Police news release. Spokesman Bill Sadler said a passing motorist called police before Mainhart was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
“This deputy checked in for duty this morning not even realizing that this would be his last call,” Sadler said at a Thursday morning news conference. “What happened today once again highlights the dangers that are facing law enforcement officers across this country.”
The case continued to play out Thursday afternoon as police negotiators worked to make contact with the suspect, who they said was holed up in a home.
Sadler said it is believed the traffic stop and the domestic disturbance call are connected, but added “there are a lot of unanswered questions at this particular time in the investigation.”
The two other victims have not yet been identified, and police would not release the name of the shooter.
Mainhart had a combined 25 years of experience in law enforcement, serving 20 years with the West Memphis Police Department before joining Yell County five years ago, state police said.
“Our hearts are saddened and we are in prayer for his family and officers who were his comrades who served and protect this county,” Sadler said.
Dardandelle, population 4,745, is about 80 miles northwest of Little Rock.