PEARL RIVER, LA (WVUE) –
Pearl River residents are angry and upset after the weekend death of a man they say was a valued member of the community.
Jeffrey Howell, 46, died after an apparent altercation on the Pearl River Saturday, and residents are trying to absorb the loss of a man they say was a great neighbor who would give you the shirt off his back.
“It’s horrible. There was no call for that kind of action,” said victim’s friend, Sheila Smith.
Wherever you go in the town of Pearl River, it’s the same story.
“He was sitting in our living room Friday night, and the next minute he’s gone,” said neighbor Kathy Maillet.
“They got their family out there, children swimming, having a good family time, and here we got something like that. It’s horrible,” Smith said.
Friends say Howell’s death came after he tried to protect the river and the children who play there.
“From what we heard they were throwing bottles in the river, and they were told to stop throwing bottles. This is a hazard,” said Maillet.
Howell had recently undergone surgery to remove a tumor and still had staples in his head.
“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 St. Tammany Coroner Dr. Charles Preston.
Preston’s autopsy revealed that Howell died from a blow to the head near the scar from his surgery three weeks ago.
“The cause of death was blunt head trauma. He was fresh on an operation on his head to remove a malignancy,” said Preston.
The St. Tammany sheriff arrested two people, 21-year-old Cameron Alphonso, charged with manslaughter, and 22-year-old Alden Kindergran, charged with disturbing the peace.
St. Tammany investigators said they’re continue to interview witnesses in a case, which they call active and ongoing. Detectives say more arrests are possible.
Funeral arrangements for Howell are pending.