2 suspects arrested in Helena-West Helena officer involved shooting

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State Police

Two suspects wanted in connection with the shooting death of a Helena-West Helena police officer were arrested early Friday morning by U.S. Marshals.

Arkansas State Police say 29-year-old Latarius Quayshun Howard shot officer Travis C. Wallace and 24-year-old Bruce Hillie was the alleged getaway driver. Howard was arrested shortly after 6:00 a.m. in Shaw, Mississippi while Hillie was apprehended in Indianola, Mississippi.

Police say that Officer Wallace was engaged in a gun battle with Howard at around 6:11 p.m. outside the Delta Inn at 1207 U.S.-49 in Helena-West Helena. Wallace was part of a contingent of local police officers who had been looking for Howard, who was wanted on charges stemming from a shooting incident in Helena-West Helena a week ago, police say.

According to police, Officer Wallace saw Howard riding in a sport utility vehicle about to exit the motel parking lot and turn onto U.S.-49. Wallace used his patrol car to block the vehicle’s exit, at which time Howard got out of the vehicle, police say, and advanced toward Howard while firing a gun. Office Wallace returned fire. When Wallace was wounded, Howard and the driver, which police believe was Hillie, fled the scene.

Office Wallace was transported to a nearby hospital and died at 7:10 p.m. He was 41 years old.

Special agents of the Arkansas State Police 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 while Hillie is charged with hindering apprehension.

Both suspects are being held in the Sunflower County Jail in Indianola, Mississippi, and are facing an extradition hearing before being returned to Arkansas.