RICHMOND, VA—The man who died after stealing a police car and crashing it into a building Monday afternoon was wanted by police on a misdemeanor charge.
Police identified the man as Timothy R. Howerton, 32, of Richmond. Howerton was wanted on a misdemeanor charge of failure to pay child support out of Colonial Heights.
Officers responded to a call for a wanted individual who was armed in the 4700 block of Jefferson Davis Highway, just after 12:30 p.m. Monday
When officers arrived at the scene Howerton was gone, but they located him around the corner, walking on Castlwood Drive.
An officer parked his car and attempted to speak with Howerton, but police say Howerton pulled a gun on the officer.
When the officer took cover behind his police vehicle, Howerton stole the car, according to police.
Howerton proceeded to drive through a business gate before crashing into an empty office building. The vehicle caught fire and Howerton died at the scene.
The weapon Howerton pointed at the officer, a BB gun, was later recovered in the stolen vehicle, according to Richmond Police.
Richmond City Police Chief Ray Tarasovic spoke exclusively to 8News following the incident.
"From our early assessment of the situation our officer was doing what he needed to do to both protect the community and protect himself," Richmond City Police Chief Ray Tarasovic told 8News. "There isn't time to think; the reaction has to be instinctive."
The building the suspect crashed into is owned by Zeller+Gmelin Corporation. The company confirmed to 8News they moved their operations out of the building about a year and a half ago, and it was empty at the time of the incident.
Witnesses told 8News the vehicle was going about 60 miles per hour when it struck the building.
There were no other injuries in this incident.
The Richmond Police Department continues to investigate Monday's wreck.
Stay with 8News for updates.
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