On Thursday morning, November 21, 2019, Johnson County Sheriff's deputies were dispatched to a residence located on CR 1752 in Flat Rock. Deputies responded in regards to a 911 call. The 911 caller a bail bondsman, reported to dispatch that they had attempted to arrest a male suspect at a residence for an out of state warrant. During that time, the suspect, identified as Wesley Bowden, drew and fired a handgun.
When patrol deputies and Arkansas State troopers arrived, Bowden barricaded himself inside the house. Later, a female resident was found hiding in the woods nearby, after she had fled during the initial shooting. Bowden was uncooperative and made threats to law enforcement which included shooting officers and blowing up the residence.
Johnson County Sheriff Jimmy Stephens requested resources from the Arkansas State Police and the Ozark Police Department.
After making the request, a command post was established at the Flat Rock Assembly of God Church. The Ozark PD SWAT team responded and took over scene containment while state police negotiators began extensive dialog with the suspect. This process continued for almost 12 hours until negotiations broke down. Both an arrest warrant and search warrant were obtained by detectives.
At that time, the Arkansas State Police SWAT team elected to deploy tear gas into the residence in an effort to force the suspect to come out, but there was no response from inside. When officers went inside the home, they located the suspect deceased from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The Johnson County Sheriff’s Officer would like to thank the numerous agencies and organizations who helped with this incident. These include the Arkansas State Police, Ozark Police Department SWAT, RFD #5, Johnson County EMS, the Coroner's Office, and the Flat Rock Assembly of God Church.
The investigation is still ongoing and is being handled by the Criminal Investigation Division of the Arkansas State Police.