Two Indianola men who were wanted by Arkansas law enforcement officials in relation to an officer-involved shooting that left one officer dead Thursday night have been arrested in Mississippi.
The two were being held in the Sunflower County jail awaiting extradition, but as of early Friday afternoon, one suspect, Latarius Howard, 29, 404 Gray Ave., had been picked up by the Mississippi Department of Corrections and is no longer in the sheriff’s department custody.
Sheriff James Haywood said Howard and Bruce Leon Hillie, 24, 403 Walker St., were captured by the U.S. Marshalls and booked into the county lockup earlier Friday morning after the Thursday night shooting assault, which according to the Arkansas police department, resulted in the death of 41-year-old officer Travis Wallace.
It is still not clear what Hillie’s involvement is with the incident, but as of late Friday afternoon, he remains in the county jail. No official charges have been announced against either.
The shooting reportedly happened near the Delta Inn Motel in Helena-West Helena, where a Memphis news source reported that officers pulled over a maroon SUV where it was believed that Howard was a passenger.
At that attempted stop, one of the passengers of the SUV got out, started firing at the officers and fatally injured Wallace. A second officer who was with Wallace was reportedly not injured.
Helena-West Helena Police Chief James Patrick Smith spoke about his fallen comrade in a televised interview.
“Officer Wallace was a leader, he was ambitious, we spoke several times about changes we were trying to do in our police department and we're going to miss our brother,” Smith said.
The officers were apparently trying to apprehend Howard in connection with a previous shooting offense from Nov. 1 where a man purportedly told police that he was sitting in his home when a then unidentified man came in, hit him in the head and then shot him.
The Helena-West Helena Police Department later received information that Howard may have been involved in that incident.
Howard reportedly has prior arrests in Mississippi and is on probation, which is likely why MDOC retrieved him from the Sunflower County jail.
Unconfirmed reports stated that Howard was taken to the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility in Pearl.
Howard also has recorded arrests in Sunflower County, one dated October of 2014 where he and a man identified as his brother were accused of robbing a man at gunpoint.
The E-T news files state that Howard and his brother pointed a gun at a man driving in a truck, made him get out of the truck, held a shotgun to his head, took $743 in cash, a cell phone and the keys to the man’s Chevrolet Tahoe.
In another incident, Howard, who was also a convicted felon at the time, was reportedly in possession of a weapon when he and several others shot into a house on Coates Street in September of that year.
In addition, he was reportedly arraigned on auto burglary charges in January 2015.