The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office has announced the identity of a wanted United States Air Force service member who is believed to have committed suicide.
34-year-old Kevin A. Larson of Las Vegas, NV, who was the subject of a court-martial and reportedly absconded from court proceedings, was found dead after a vehicular pursuit and subsequent multi-agency manhunt earlier this week.
Around 7:30 AM on Sunday, January 19, the United States Air Force contacted Mendocino County Sheriff’s deputies for assistance on the 8000 block of Reeves Canyon Road in Redwood Valley. Deputies in turn contacted Air Force Special Agents stationed at Beale Air Force Base near Marysville, at which point they learned that Larson, who was due for court proceedings in connection to a court-martial in Las Vegas on January 17, had absconded prior to his sentencing.
As such, a warrant was issued for his arrest.
Around 4 PM the next day, January 18, south of Ukiah, a CHP officer attempted a traffic stop on Larson’s 2018 Jeep Wrangler, which resulted in a vehicle pursuit northbound on Highway 101 and eventually onto Reeves Canyon Road, where it was called off.
Special Agents responded to the area and conducted overnight surveillance at the intersection of Highway 101 and, the next morning, January 19, began searching the area for Larson’s Jeep, which they eventually located along the 8000 block of Reeves Canyon Road. As they began a plan to approach the vehicle, agents learned that Larson had made suicidal statements to a friend following his desertion.
In light of this, deputies called in one of the county’s UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle), typically used in search and rescue operations, which couldn’t get a good look at the Jeep. The UAV was later sent back out and, this time, an object that appeared similar to a person was seen in the vehicle.
Reports say that, shortly thereafter, a single gunshot was heard in the immediate area.
Mendocino County Multi-Agency SWAT officers responded and, around 1:30 PM, used a Citizen Rescue Vehicle to approach the vehicle and ended up finding Larson about 30 yards away in an elevated position on the hillside.
Larson appeared to have committed suicide with a high-powered rifle.
As of Monday, January 20, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Coroner’s Division has been in touch with Larson’s next of kin.