Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division are in northwest Mississippi today where two men wanted in connection with the murder of a Helena – West Helena Police Officer yesterday were apprehended early this morning by U.S. Marshals. Latarius Quayshun Howard, 29, the suspected gunman in the murder, surrendered without resistance in Shaw, Mississippi shortly after 6 AM. Bruce Hillie, 24, the alleged getaway driver, was apprehended in Indianola, Mississippi.
The Arkansas State Police will be the lead law enforcement agency to investigate the Thursday evening shooting incident. Special agents assigned to the department’s Criminal Investigation Division will be responsible for preparing an investigative case file for the Phillips County prosecuting attorney who has filed the state’s charges. Howard faces a capital murder charge, Hillie, is charged with hindering apprehension. Both are being held in the Sunflower County Jail at Indianola, Mississippi and will face an extradition hearing before being returned to Arkansas.
Officer Travis C. Wallace, 41, was struck by gunfire during a gun battle with Howard about 6:11 PM outside the Delta Inn located at 1207 U.S. Highway 49 in Helena-West Helena. Officer Wallace and other local police officers had been looking for Howard who was wanted on charges stemming from a shooting incident in Helena – West Helena about a week ago.
Howard was spotted by Officer Wallace riding in a sport utility vehicle about exit the motel parking lot and turn onto U.S. Highway 49. The officer used his patrol car to block the truck’s exit, at which time Howard exited the vehicle and reportedly began advancing on the officer while firing a gun. Officer Wallace returned fire, however there has been no report that Howard was injured. After wounding Officer Wallace, Howard and the driver, believed to be Hillie, then fled from the crime scene.
Officer Wallace was transported to an area hospital where he died at 7:10 PM.