BLANCO, Texas (KXAN) - A five-hour standoff ended with a 19-year-old USAF airman taking his life at a Blanco County home on Tuesday night.
Kerby Barbe, was found with a self-inflicted gunshot wound around 9 p.m. Tuesday in a wooded area behind a home in Stallion Estates. He had been Absent Without Leave (AWOL) from an Air Force base in Missouri for several days.
He was found armed with an assault rifle with 300 rounds of ammunition and had on body armor, according to Blanco County investigators. Authorities said he purchased the gun in Oklahoma and since he is not a resident of that state it is likely the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will launch a separate investigation.
"He wasn't from that state," said Bob Shelton, an investigator with the Blanco Sheriff's Office.
Shelton said that authorities were called to the home around 4 p.m. regarding a welfare concern possibly involving an armed military deserter.
Shelton said when two deputies went to the back of the home Barbe discharged a round.
"No law enforcement ever discharged their weapons. It could've gotten very bad because he had his military armor on and that can withstand a lot of the common weapons law enforcement would have to use," Shelton said.
Around 9 p.m., Texas Department of Public Safety SWAT entered the gated community in two armored vehicles, Shelton said.
"We tried to contact him [Barbe] on his cell phone and also tried to talk to him and we got no response," Shelton said.
Area residents were evacuated from their homes.
"They were frightened," Shelton said.
Barbe graduated from basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio in the fall of 2010. Shelton said he recently went AWOL from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, along with a fellow unnamed airman.
Shelton said Barbe is suspected of killing that airman in Nebraska. However, a body has not been recovered.
The Air Force Office of Special Investigations is taking part in this investigation and is leading the inquiry into the missing airman.
Barbe graduated from Blanco High School in 2009.
Barbe's parents declined to comment.
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