Police: Man who stole police car, pointed BB gun at officer

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Timothy Howerton (PHOTO: Colonial Heights Police)

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – The man who stole a police car and then died when the car crashed through a fence pointed a BB gun at an officer prior to the crash, according to Richmond Police.

Police spotted Timothy Howerton, 32, near the 7-Eleven at Jefferson Davis Highway in South Richmond Monday afternoon. Howerton was wanted in Colonial Heights on a misdemeanor charge of failure to pay child support.

When the officer attempted to stop Howerton, police said Howerton flashed a gun. That gun, it turned out, was a BB gun.

The officer grabbed his own gun and began to retreat to his police cruiser, Richmond Police Major Steve Drew said on Monday. At that point, police said, Howerton got into the officer’s cruiser and drove off. The cruiser crashed and overturned a short distance away.

Howerton died at the scene.

CBS 6 reporter Mark Holmberg dove deeper in Howerton's background and spoke to a family friend who said Howerton was not in his right frame of mind. The family friend said Howerton also had a drug abuse problem that had left him behaving erratically.

Court records showed Howerton had a long history of arrests for assaults and driving infractions and other charges both in Richmond and in Colonial Heights, but not many convictions.

Howerton was due to be tried in Richmond Circuit Court for a grand larceny that allegedly occurred last summer, on June 23.