On this day in history, June 3rd 1983, a shootout occurred at a farm just outside Smithville Arkansas leaving Lawrence County Sheriff Gene Matthews and federal fugitive Gordon Kahl both dead.
Kahl was wanted by federal agents for his part in a shooting that occurred outside Medina, North Dakota in February of 1983 that killed two law enforcement agents and wounded another. After the shooting, Kahl was the subject of a nationwide manhunt by authorities. In late May after a $25,000 reward for information was posted, authorities received information that Kahl had been in the Mountain Home area but was now believed to be at a farm in Lawrence County.
After surveillance using aircraft, authorities closed in on a farm house where Kahl was believed to be staying.
Sheriff Gene Matthews along with law enforcement from numerous agencies surrounded the home. After removing the residents, Mathews accompanied by several other law enforcement officers entered the home where a shootout occurred involving the Lawrence County Sheriff and the fugitive Gordon Kahl.
Both Sheriff Matthews and Gordon Kahl were killed in the shooting, the investigation concluded the two simultaneously shot each other, both sustained fatal wounds.
Sheriff Matthewsâ€™ funeral in Walnut Ridge was attended by over 700 mourners including over 250 law enforcement officers and then Governor Bill Clinton.