Maryland

Man Strangles Tow Truck Driver in College Park: Police

Suspect in custody, Prince George's County police say

The man accused of choking a tow truck driver to death in Maryland over the weekend is being held without bond.

The family of 24-year-old Damian Howard said he acted in self-defense.

Howard got into a fight with a tow truck driver, 41-year-old Tarreak Butler, in the 5100 block of College Avenue in College Park just before 2 a.m. Sunday, authorities say. 

"When our officers arrived on scene, they did find the 24-year-old Damian Howard, our suspect in custody, had Mr. Butler in a chokehold," Prince George's County police Cpl. Nicholas Clayton said. "He was unresponsive."

The officers then performed CPR on him until paramedics arrived, police said.

Medics took him to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Howard waived his rights and told police he grabbed Butler, slammed him on the ground, put him in a chokehold and held on until police arrived several minutes later, according to court documents.

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"This is a case of self-defense," Howard's father said. "My son had paid his towing fee — it's not about towing fees — he'd paid his towing fee, and he waited for the young man to pull up to release his car, and once the young man pulled up, there was some conversation that turned the wrong way, went sideways."

Howard's family said he called police to complain about his car being held and was also the one who called police during the altercation.

Howard is charged with second-degree murder and is being held without bond.

He is a real estate agent and father of one.

News4 could not reach Butler's family for comment. The tow company he worked for said Butler also was a father.

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