HELENA-WEST HELENA, Ark. — The Arkansas State Police have released the name of an officer who was killed in the line of duty Thursday night in Helena-West Helena.
Officer Travis C. Wallace, 41, was shot during a gun battle outside the Delta Inn on U.S. Highway 49 around 6:11 p.m., according to police.
Special agents were in northwest Mississippi Friday where two men wanted in connection with Wallace’s shooting death are being held.
According to a release from police, Latarius Howard, 29, the suspected gunman, surrendered without resistance in Shaw, Miss. just before 6 a.m.
Bruce Hillie, 24, the alleged getaway driver, was captured in Indianola.
Howard is facing a capital murder charge. Hillie is charged with hindering apprehension.
Both are being held in the Sunflower County Jail and will face an extradition hearing before being returned to Helena-West Helena, according to police.
Howard was spotted by Officer Wallace riding in an SUV about to exit the motel parking lot.
According to police, Wallace used his patrol car to block Howard’s exit, at which time Howard exited the vehicle and began firing at Wallace.
Wallace returned fire.
There have been no reports that Howard was injured, according to police.
Wallace died at an area hospital at 7:10 p.m.
Helena-West Helena Police Chief James Smith gave an emotional remembrance of Wallace at a press conference in Helena-West Helena.
“We spoke several times about changes that we were trying to make in our police department. We’re going to miss our brother,” said Smith.
Smith said Wallace was not one to give up and he loved his community.
“Ofc. Wallace had a younger son. He’s very close with his dad, and to go there and speak with his child and tell him that his father is not coming back home, that’s something hard for an adolescent to process,” said Smith.
Chief Smith says Wallace had a bright future and could have easily become police chief one day.
“He was at that step, Wallace was a leader. he was ambitious,” Smith explained.
Helena-West Helena Police said Officer Wallace is survived by his mother and two children and “a host of sisters and brothers.”
Chief Smith said, “Our department has lost a true leader and brother who admired this community. My condolences go out to the Wallace family and all who were involved in efforts to apprehend both suspects. We must understand that no one has won, although we know our community shall stand strong.”
Howard was originally held in custody at the Sunflower County Jail in Mississippi before being transferred to the Rankin County Jail.
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