Country music singer Randy Howard was killed on Tuesday night by a bounty hunter who was trying to take him in on a DUI charge.
During his career, Howard had shared the stage with Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Hank Williams Jr., and had written songs for Hank Williams III. He was part of country music’s “Outlaw” movement, which rejected the polished sounds of Nashville in favor of rougher tones.
Recently, Howard, 65, had been charged with fourth-offense DUI, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a firearm while intoxicated and driving on a revoked license. Friends say that they tried to convince Howard to show up for his court appearance, but the singer refused.
“He said he wasn’t going back to jail,” said his friend, Terry Dotson. “That’s what he told me.”
When Howard did not show up for court, Nashville authorities sent bounty hunter Jackie Shell to take him into custody Tuesday night. When he arrived at the singer’s home, Howard shot at him. Shell fired back, and Howard was eventually killed.
Shell was reportedly injured in the shooting, but it has not in revealed how bad his wounds are. His mother told the press that he did undergo surgery, however.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has launched an investigation into what happened Tuesday night, including whether or not Shell had a right to enter Howard’s home.
Howard made seven records, the most famous of which was 1983’s All American Redneck. He was known for embracing the term “redneck” at a time when most people found the word offensive.
“It can be positive,” he once said. “When I play clubs, I ask if there are any rednecks out there. I get a good response whether I’m in New York or Miami.”