Louisiana residents are deeply upset after hearing the news that beloved community member Jeffrey Howell was tragically killed on Saturday evening.
According to Fox 8, Howell died after being struck by a beer bottle that hit him on the head and killed him following an altercation on a Pearl River sandbar.
"He was sitting in our living room Friday night, and the next minute he's gone," said Kathy Maillet, a neighbor of Howell's.
"It's horrible. There was no call for that kind of action," Sheila Smith, a friend of Howell's added. "They got their family out there, children swimming, having a good family time, and here we got something like that. It's horrible."
"From what we heard they were throwing bottles in the river, and they were told to stop throwing bottles. This is a hazard," Maillet later explained.
According to the Fox 8 reports, Howell had recently undergone surgery to have a tumor removed from his skull and still had staples in his head from the procedure.
"If you cup your hand behind your left ear, that's where the incision was, and that's where the bone had been removed," said Dr. Charles Preston, the St. Tammany Coroner.
The bottle that was thrown at him, as friends have speculated, appears to have been in retaliation to him confronting some lakeside party-goers about their behavior.
Three people have since been arrested in connection to the incident, with 21-year-old Cameron Alphonso having initially been arrested for charges of manslaughter that were later upgraded to second-degree murder after an autopsy ruled that the Howell's death was a homicide by "blunt force trauma to the head."
"The cause of death was blunt head trauma. He was fresh on an operation on his head to remove a malignancy," said Dr. Preston added.
The two other arrests made in the case so far were 23-year-old Alden Kindergran — who was charged with one count of disturbing the peace — and 20-year-old Blaine Manalle — who was charged with one count of second-degree murder.
“I applaud the hard work, dedication and exhaustive efforts of our detectives who have worked long hours and interviewed in excess of 40 people in an effort to establish the probable cause necessary to make an additional arrest in connection with what took place Saturday evening,” St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Randy Smith told reporters.
While arrests have been made, the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office has stressed that the the case is ongoing and assured citizens that they are continuing to interview everyone who was present and can provide a point-of-view and context for the tragic situation.
Photo Credit: WVUE FOX 8 News