Rescue team finds body of man who shot self, fell into river in Barton County

Published: Jun. 11, 2019 at 9:24 AM CDT
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Update 3 p.m. Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Swift-water rescue crews spent hours looking for a man after he shot himself and fell into the the Arkansas River late Monday night in Barton County. Barton County Sheriff Brian Bellendir says 36-year-old Nicholas Curtice fled from a deputy when she attempted to pull over his vehicle. Curtice was wanted on multiple warrants.

Bellendir says crews found Curtice's body along the river early Tuesday morning, about a quarter of a mile from where he shot himself. Barton County Sheriff's deputies say Monday night's chase started near 5th and Odell Road in Great Bend. This is where the deputy tried to pull Curtice over. Deputies say he fled and drove toward the Arkansas River, driving over the flood-control dike. He stopped short of the river, got out of the car and walked into the river with a gun and put it to his head, Bellendir says.

The sheriff says the deputy ordered Curtice to drop the gun. This is when he shot himself and fell into the river.

Bellendir says crews spent most of late Monday night and early Tuesday morning looking for Curtice along the river. Great Bend's swift-water rescue team and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks searched for him until about 2:30 a.m.

The sheriff says Curtice had a long criminal history.

"We have chased him in the past and we've had this type of situation," he says. "We didn't' know what was going to happen. He does have warrants. We were just trying to make contact and serve the warrants."


Tuesday morning, Jun 11, 2019

Barton County authorities are looking for a man who shot himself, and disappeared into fast-moving water late last night.

According to Sheriff Brian Bellendir, deputies attempted to stop a vehicle driven by a wanted man at around 11:00 p.m. Monday.

Bellendir says the vehicle fled south on Washington Street and crossed over the flood control dike, into the riverbed.

The vehicle continued for about a half-mile, when it became disabled.

At that point, the Sheriff says the man got out of the vehicle with a firearm and shot himself. He then disappeared into the water.

As of 9:00 a.m. Tuesday, emergency personnel have not been able to locate the man's body.

The Sheriff’s Office has contacted Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, Kansas Highway Patrol and the Great Bend Fire Department swift water rescue team for assistance.

The Sheriff expects to release more information later today.

Watch for updates here on

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