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Posted: 6/24/2002 3:04:40 PM EDT
Cleburne deputy hurt after shooting 06/23/02 WALTER BRYANT News staff writer Kenneth Howell sat in a UAB Hospital intensive-care waiting room Saturday counting miracles that had kept his son alive after being shot Friday night near Edwardsville in eastern Cleburne County. He could think of two: His son, Cleburne County Sheriff's Deputy Gary Howell, usually rides alone on patrol, but Friday night an auxiliary deputy was with him. They stopped a pickup truck for not having a license tag or taillights, and gunfire erupted. The critically wounded 33-year-old deputy was taken to Anniston Regional Medical Center. A helicopter was on hand to whisk him to Birmingham. No arrest had been made as of Saturday afternoon, however authorities said they were searching for a suspect near the Alabama/Georgia line. Howell said the incident happened about 11:30 p.m. on Cleburne County 65 a couple of miles north of U.S. 78. Based on information he had assembled from Cleburne County Sheriff Darrell Durham and others, this is what happened. The lawmen stopped behind a dark-colored Chevrolet pickup. His son walked up on the driver's side. Arlin Ashley, a retired deputy who supervises auxiliary deputies, approached on the passenger side. Deputy Howell asked the driver for his license, and then gunfire erupted. "He hollered to Arlin, `He's got a gun,'" the elder Howell said. The deputy was shot in the cheek. Another bullet hit him in the right side, passed through a lung, creased his liver and stopped against his spine, his father said. Howell said he and his wife, Nellie, had been asleep for about an hour when their phone rang. A friend told them to turn on their police scanner. When they did, they didn't like what they heard. Nellie Howell said it didn't sound good when she heard her son had been shot in the head. The couple sped toward the scene, about eight miles east of their Heflin home. Near Edwardsville, they saw a Cleburne County EMS ambulance coming toward them on U.S. 78. They turned around and followed it to the Anniston hospital. After the deputy's condition was stabilized, a helicopter took him to Birmingham. Howell said his son had gone on duty at 4 p.m. Friday and would have worked until some time after midnight. Saturday he wondered aloud in the waiting room why his son had chosen law enforcement, in light of the risks lawmen deal with. On several occasions the elder Howell had advised his son to "get out of that stuff." His mother had also mentioned the job risks. "She would say every time he went out the door to go to work, `Now, Greg, you know what's out there. Make sure your heart's right,'" Howell said. A hospital spokeswoman said the deputy was in critical condition Saturday night.
Link Posted: 6/24/2002 3:09:33 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/24/2002 3:11:53 PM EDT by kwb377]
Update: Suspect hunted in deputy shooting 06/24/02 CARLA CROWDER News staff writer A manhunt Sunday for a suspected methamphetamine dealer wanted in the shooting of a Cleburne County deputy drew 200 law officers to woodsy, rural terrain along the Alabama-Georgia border. Authorities believed they were closing in on the suspect around 10 p.m. Sunday near Tallapoosa, Ga., a few miles north of where Interstate 20 crosses into Georgia, said Denise Burson, a dispatcher for the Haralson County Sheriff's Department. Burson's department was one of numerous law enforcement agencies which have tracked the fugitive since Friday. Cleburne County Sheriff Darrell Durham identified the suspect as Bill Howard, 47. He is wanted in connection with the Friday shooting of Deputy Gary Howell, who remained in critical condition Sunday night at UAB. Shot in face: Gunfire erupted when Howell, 34, and an auxiliary deputy attempted to stop a pickup truck with a dealer tag for not having tail lights. Howell was struck in the face and the right side. The search initially led authorities to a home in the tiny Cleburne County town of Muscadine. Howard fled and the search intensified. "We've got dogs and helicopters," Burson said Sunday night. Searchers found some clothing believed to have been left at the site where the suspect and another person were camping. About 5 p.m. Sunday, a witness reported seeing Howard carrying an assault rifle, she said. Howard has a January warrant for his arrest on methamphetamine manufacturing and trafficking charges, Burton said. Authorities in Alabama say Howard has been wanted on drug and probation violation charges for eight years. Stay safe! kwb377
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