Howard County: As law enforcement closes in, homicide suspect commits suicide


HOWARD COUNTY, Ark. (KTAL/KSHV) – The suspect wanted in connection with a Friday morning Howard County homicide is dead, according the Howard County Sheriff’s Office.

Tony Barnes, 56, of Nashville, who was accused in the shooting death of 50-year-old Betty Burgess at her home, committed suicide as deputies and officers from multiple agencies closed in on him early Saturday afternoon at his home.

Barnes was accused of standing at the back door of Burgess’ home in the 100 block of Highway 246 and shot her twice with a shotgun. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Around noon Saturday, the HCSO began receiving calls that Burgess’ vehicle was seen driving south on Highway 369 toward his home on Muddy Fork Road.

Deputies and officers from several agencies started to arrive on Muddy Fork Road near Barnes’ house and learned that he had arrived home just minutes before law enforcement showed up.

As officers positioned themselves around Barnes’ house and property, they learned he was near a pond bank on property near his house.

From their vantage point, officers could see Barnes and noticed he had a long gun, which was determined to be a shotgun.

Officers positioned themselves to make contact with Barnes and remain safe, while continuing to observe him.

Then, at approximately 1:10 p.m., officers heard a single gunshot and cautiously approached Barnes and learned he had used the shotgun to kill himself.

The Howard County Sheriff’s Office was assisted in the manhunt were multiple agencies that included the Nashville Police Department, the Arkansas State Police, the Pike County Sheriff’s Office, the 9th Judicial Drug Task Force and Arkansas Game and Fish agents. 

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