Man Allegedly Strangles Woman Using Her Own Backpack Strap
Just after 8:00 p.m. on Friday, Missoula Police Officers were dispatched to the report of a disturbance in the 500 block of West Spruce Street. The caller said that a female was trying to walk away and a male was not allowing her to do so. Police Public Information Officer Travis Welsh said the first officer on the scene located those individuals.
“When he pulled to the side of the road, the female immediately walked towards him,” Welsh said. “However, the male turned and walked eastbound on the sidewalk towards Orange Street. The officer checked on the female and asked her to stand by his car while he went to detain the male. He called out to the male and identified himself as police, but the male continued eastbound and ignored his instructions to stop.”
According to Welsh, the officer eventually caught up with the male and noted evident bleeding on his face. The male resisted the officer’s efforts to escort him from the roadway and he began pulling his body weight in the opposite direction.
“Another officer joined him there and the male began to resist their efforts,” Welsh said. “The male refused to follow their instructions and continually attempted to pull away from the officers. They eventually got him into custody and walked him back to the scene. He was identified as 45-year-old Tatonkaska Howard. He was placed under arrest for an outstanding warrant out of Lake County and also transported to the jail for charges related to the disturbance.”
During a search, officers located two hypodermic needles in Howard’s jacket pocket. Another officer arrived and made contact with the female victim.
She told the officer that Howard had punched her in the face and kicked her in the ribs. She also told the officer that Howard strangled her using her own backpack strap. She reported she briefly lost consciousness while being strangled. She also said he punched her in the head six to seven times during the strangulation and told the officer she thought she was going to die.
She also told the officer that Howard began physically abusing her approximately one week prior and showed the officer severe bruising on her arms. She was taken to St. Patrick Hospital for treatment.
Howard was charged with felony strangulation, partner or family member assault, resisting arrest, and criminal possession of drug paraphernalia.