Man With Machete Fatally Shot by Taylor Deputies

6:14 PM, Nov 1, 2013   |    comments
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Taylor County deputies fatally shot a man who was attacking another deputy with a machete.

That's according to Wayne Smith, special agent in charge of the GBI's Midland office, near Columbus.

It happened around 5 p.m. Thursday afternoon, outside a home on West Old Wire Road in Butler.

Agent Smith says three Taylor County deputies responded to a call about a man walking along the road acting strangely. He was carrying a machete and a metal cane or pipe. The call came from neighbors, who knew the man, and said he was not acting like himself.

"He was saying things out of character, like 'You killed my children,' 'You killed my wife,' odd things like that that didn't make sense to anybody," Smith said. "He was kind of looking right through them."

GBI identified the man as 57-year-old John Wayne Howell, who lives in the area.

Smith said Howell did not respond to the deputy's orders and swung the machete at him.

The officer tried to tase him, but didn't connect with skin, and was therefore not affective.  Smith says at that point, Howell advanced on the deputy, who tripped while trying to back away.

Smith says when the officer went down, Howell raised the machete and swung, but missed. Then the other two deputies both shot Howell.

Howell died on the scene, and his  body was sent to a GBI crime lab for an autopsy.

Smith would not release the name of the deputies involved and did not know whether they are still on the job.

GBI is still investigating the matter.

Taylor County Sheriff Jeff Watson declined comment and referred questions to the GBI.

Smith says Sheriff Watson is planning to meet with Howell's family.

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