Lincolnton, NC – May 15, 2020, is National Peace Officer Memorial Day, and a Lincoln County Sheriff’s Sergeant who was killed on August 26, 1973, was honored with a wreath placed at his gravesite at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Lincolnton.
John Hugh Howell, II was only 24 years old when he was shot and killed when he responded to a domestic dispute in which a man had assaulted his daughter. Sgt. Howell was familiar with the family because of previous trips to diffuse domestic incidents so when he arrived at the location the man’s son let him into the house.
While inside he exchanged shots with the father, who was armed with a .22 caliber rifle. Sergeant Howell was struck in the chest and hand. He was able to make it to his patrol car and radioed for assistance before succumbing to his wounds.
The suspect was arrested and charged with murder and assault. He was convicted of second-degree murder on March 1, 1974, and sentenced to 25 years in prison. He served just over eight years of the sentence and was released on May 28, 1982. In May of 1995, he was killed when a tractor overturned on top of him.
Sgt. Howell joined the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office after serving in the U.S. Army in Vietnam.
Each year during the week surrounding May 15th communities across the United States come together to honor and remember those law enforcement officers who made the ultimate sacrifice. The U.S. Flag at the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office will be flown at half-staff until sunset today in honor of Peace Officers Memorial Week.
Sergeant John H. Howell, II is honored with a plaque on the National Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial in Washington, D.C. The memorial is located in the 400 block of E Street between 4th and 5th Streets, NW. His name is located on the 2nd row in the 47th panel on the East Wall.
First Sergeant Thomas R. Taylor also died while on duty. Sgt. Taylor died from a medical condition on December 30, 2003.