Cooper man held after morning chase
Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor

Feb. 20, 2004 -- A child custody fight between a 23-year-old Cooper man and his Hopkins County spouse escalated early Monday morning, with the man pointing a shotgun at two people before leaving his spouse's County Road 4778 residence with their infant son.

Riley "Nubs" Howard Jr. remained in Hopkins County jail just before noon Monday on charges of child endangerment, two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon along with charges for evading arrest or detention with a vehicle.

Hopkins and Delta County officers chased the man to his Cooper residence, where he was apprehended within 15 minutes of the first report of a disturbance at the rural Hopkins County residence.

Hopkins County Sheriff's Cpl. Todd Evans and Deputy Adam Herrmann were dispatched at 1:10 a.m. Monday to a reported disturbance involving an intoxicated man and a shotgun at the residence on CR 4778. The suspect was said to have pointed a shotgun at two people at the residence. Dispatchers initially told the officers that two spouses were fighting over a child, then within minutes advised of a second call alleging that Howard had left with the child after breaking out a vehicle window as he was leaving the residence.

Cpl. Evans spotted the pickup Howard was said to have driven off in at about 1:19 a.m. Monday on County Road 4795 crossing the two mile bridge. As Evans grew closer to the truck, Howard was said to have slammed on the brakes two times, making closer approach by the officer dangerous.

As Evans began looking for a safe spot to stop Howard, Delta County officers began heading to the area to assist. Evans activated his overhead lights, but Howard, instead of slowing or stopping, accelerated, north on State Highway 19 with the officer in pursuit with lights and siren, according to Hopkins County Sheriff Butch Adams.

Howard continued on to his 10th Street residence in Cooper with patrol units in pursuit. He was arrested at 1:25 a.m. for evading arrest in a motor vehicle, child endangerment and family violence assault by intimidation. The infant was returned to its mother. The assault charge was enhanced later Monday to two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for his use of the shotgun.

Howard was arraigned Monday morning before Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Yvonne King, who set bond at $5,000 each on the evading arrest and child endangerment charges, and a $20,000 each for the two aggravated assault charges. Should Howard post bond, a 48-hour hold has been placed on him which would prevent him from leaving the county jail for an additional 48-hours, according to Adams.

"At the request of the victim and the officers, a 48-hour hold was placed on Howard," Adams said. "So that means that if he does make bond, the 48-hour hold starts when he makes the bond."

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