Air Force captain who fled court-martial hearing found dead in Mendocino County
An Air Force officer who fled a court-martial sentencing in Nevada was found dead from what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound in Mendocino County on Sunday, authorities said.
Capt. Kevin Larson, 34, of Las Vegas, was the subject of an arrest warrant issued Friday when he did not appear for a court-martial hearing at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office said.
A CHP officer spotted the man’s 2018 Jeep Wrangler about 4 p.m. Saturday and attempted to pull the vehicle over south of Ukiah. The driver fled north on Highway 101, with the CHP in pursuit, evading the officer by turning off onto Reeves Canyon Road about 14 miles north of Ukiah.
Air Force officials were notified and monitored the Reeves Canyon Road area overnight. At daybreak Sunday, they searched for the driver’s vehicle and found it parked in the 8000 block of Reeves Canyon Road, roughly 8 miles west of Highway 101.
Mendocino County deputies learned the serviceman had made suicidal statements to a friend. They deployed a drone to inspect the Jeep, but the drone could not capture a clear image inside the vehicle, the Sheriff’s Office said.
A multi-agency SWAT team was called in and used a rescue vehicle to approach the Jeep. The team found Larson’s body on a hillside, about 30 feet from his vehicle. Investigators said it appeared he used a high-powered rifle to commit suicide, authorities said.
An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday.
A call to an Air Force spokeswoman was not immediately returned.