A police hunt is underway for an “armed and dangerous” suspect who is accused of shooting dead a police officer in Arkansas.
A Helena-West Helena police officer was shot and killed on Thursday after being called to the Delta Inn in the 1200 block of US 49.
Police Chief James Smith told FOX13 that officers were responding after receiving a tip-off about a suspect in a November 1 shooting, identified as 29-year-old Latarius Howard.
According to WREG, police spotted the suspect in a vehicle outside of the Delta Inn at around 4:30 p.m. The suspect is then alleged to have jumped out of the vehicle and opened fire, striking one officer.
The officer, who has not been named, was taken to the Helena Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
Police are now searching for Howard, also known as L.T. Truitt. He is believed to be traveling in a maroon SUV and is thought to have ties to Phillips County, Jonesboro and Little Rock, as well as Leland County, Mississippi.
Latarius Howard aka L.T. Truitt Helena-West Helena Police
The Little Rock ATF field office and Arkansas State Police are assisting with the search for the suspect.
“ATF Little Rock special agents are assisting in investigation of fatal shooting of Helena-West Helena police officer at local motel,” said ATF New Orleans, which covers the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas.
“Suspect Latarius Howard is on the run, considered armed and dangerous.”
The Helena-West Helena Police Department has been contacted for an update on the search.
According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, there have been 248 police officers who have died in the line of duty in 2020, including 41 shootings. Three of the deaths have occurred in the state of Arkansas, according to the data.
Howard is accused of another incident which took place on November 1. Helena-West Helena officers responded to a shooting in the 360 block of Denise Drive just before 6 p.m. When officers arrived at the scene they found Charles Selvy, who appeared to have blood on his ankle, according to a statement.
Selvy told police that he was sitting on the couch listening to music when an unidentified Black man came in, hit him in the head, and then shot him.
The victim was taken to the Helena Regional Medical Center for treatment for his injuries before he was air-lifted to Regional One in Memphis, Tennessee.