St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office
The coroner’s office determined on Monday that Howell was killed by blunt force trauma to the head, though it is unclear if one blow was deadly or if it was a sum total was the fatal.
Spokesman James Hartman tells PEOPLE that he had successfully undergone surgery to remove a brain tumor “and was recovering and this happened.”
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Howell was struck on Saturday around the area where his head was cut open for surgery, the spokesman says: “If you cuff your left hand against the back of your head behind your left ear, that was where the incision was.”
The sheriff’s office declined to confirm what led to the fatal incident. However, friends said Howell had apparently objected to other people who were throwing bottles into the water, local TV station WVUE reports.