Authorities find body of chase suspect who went in Arkansas River, shot himself

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Authorities in central Kansas say they have found the body of a man who led officers on a chase before going into the Arkansas River and shooting himself. 

At around 11 p.m. Monday, a Barton County deputy attempted to stop Chevy Avalanche with a wanted person inside near 5th and Odell in Great Bend. Sheriff Brian Bellendir said the vehicle fled, headed south on Washington Street and crossed over the flood control dike before striking a ravine near the north bank.

Sheriff Bellendir said the 36-year-old Ellinwood man exited the vehicle and placed a gun to his head. The deputy ordered him to drop the weapon repeatedly, but he waded about into about four feet of water and fired a single round. 

Law enforcement and fire officials searched for several hours but could not find him due to the swift current and darkness. The search resumed at 8 a.m. Tuesday. 

A swift water rescue team found the man's body at around 10:45 a.m. about 1,200 feet downstream. His death was ruled a suicide. KAKE News is not releasing his name.

The sheriff’s office was assisted by the Great Bend police and fire departments, game wardens, aircraft support from the Kansas Highway Patrol, and the Barton County coroner. 

Bellendir said the suspect was wanted on Barton County District Court warrants. Kansas Department of Corrections records list him as a Community Corrections absconder as of April 22. 

He had prior convictions that include criminal damage to property, flee and elude, aggravated battery and drug possession. 

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