A Schuyler man arrested on Oct. 17 in connection with a shooting the night before in a rural part of town remained in jail as of the Sun’s Monday night print deadline.
Shawn M. Howell, 53, of rural Schuyler, is charged with being a prohibited person in possession of a deadly weapon, specifically a gun, according to Colfax County Attorney and Public Information Officer Denise Kracl. That’s a 1D felony, which carries a mandatory prison minimum of three years and a maximum of 50.
An active Domestic Protective Order was issued by the County Court in Butler County and lawfully served upon Howell. Any person who is the subject of an active protection order is not legally allowed to possess a firearm or weapon.
Howell is being held on a $250,000 bond with a 10-percent option that was issued by Colfax County Court Judge Andrew Lange. To be released, Kracl said the suspect would need to come up with $25,000.
About 8:30 p.m. Oct. 16, Schuyler Police officers responded to multiple 911 calls in reference to a shooting that took place at a Colfax County home north of U.S. Highway 30, Kracl said. Following the call, police arrived at the front entrance of CHI Hospital in Schuyler and observed that a Ford F-150 pickup had been driven onto the curb of the hospital property and came to a rest about 2 feet from the Emergency Room entrance, according to provided information.
Officers made contact with two white men who had sustained injuries that appeared to be inflicted by a shotgun. Both men were stabilized by CHI Schuyler staff and transferred to a trauma unit for further medical attention. Both men’s injuries were serious, Kracl said, though she added their conditions have steadily been improving. The names of the injured men are currently being withheld pending further investigation, she said.
Following Howell’s arrest, Kracl told the Sun that no additional suspects are being sought at this time, though more charges could be filed in the future against Howell or others as the investigation continues.
She stressed this was an isolated incident and that Schuyler residents should not be concerned for their safety.
“My job is to step back and let law enforcement process the evidence and create a complete picture of what occurred in the evening hours on Wednesday,” Kracl said. “Law enforcement is not able to interview as of Monday all the people at the scene because they’re still recovering from injuries. All expected to recover.”
She was complimentary of how all professionals on the scene responded to the incident.
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"Thanks to the efforts of local law enforcement, as well as specialists from the Nebraska State Patrol, all crime scenes were processed," Kracl said. "Much more information will come as the investigation continues. We are all very relieved that this did not have a more tragic ending.
"Please thank your local law enforcement officers (firefighters, paramedics, and dispatchers), as well as members of the Nebraska State Patrol. When everyone else runs from danger, they run towards it."
The shooting suspect also has two cases in neighboring Platte County.
Howell is scheduled to appear before Judge Frank Skorupa in Platte County Court for a preliminary hearing on Nov. 19 relating to a case in which he allegedly assaulted and threatened to kill another man.
On July 30, a Columbus Police Department officer responded to meet with an individual that claimed he’d been threatened and assaulted. The alleged victim said that he was out walking his dog when the defendant pulled up in a black ford pickup truck and started pushing him and hitting him in the ribs with an open hand.
During the situation, Howell reportedly said, “Next time I see you I’m going to do to you what I did to those kids at Wagner Lakes,” according to information provided in a warrantless arrest affidavit. Court records show that the reporting party told police that Howell said he shot some kids point-blank in the head and got away with it.
He was charged with making terroristic threats, a Class IIIA felony punishable by up to three years imprisonment and third-degree assault, a Class I misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail.
In another Platte County case, Howell was scheduled for a pre-trial hearing on Tuesday after pleading not guilty to three counts of intimidation using a phone/electric communication, Class III misdemeanors; one count of disturbing the peace, also a Class III misdemeanor; and stalking, a Class I misdemeanor. It wasn’t clear at the Sun’s print deadline whether he was present before Platte County Court Judge Frank Skorupa.
Sam Pimper is the news editor and Matt Lindberg is the managing editor of the Schuyler Sun. Reach them at SCHnews@lee.net