Oakland Unified School District police officer Timothy Blaine Howe of Hercules, 34, was fatally shot April 14, 1995 in East Oakland after stopping a car for a possible traffic violation.
When Howe approached the vehicle, a verbal altercation erupted and he was shot, said Sgt. Tony Hare of the Oakland Police Department. Howe died a short time later at Highland Hospital.
The wedding invitations he and his fiancee had sent were arriving at the homes of friends and relatives. Instead, there would be a funeral.
“I wasn’t planning for a casket, I was planning for a wedding,” said Linda Mussman, Howe’s mother “It’s such a nightmare.”
Officers throughout the East Bay said they also felt like they had lost a family member.
“What happened to Tim could happen to any one of us and because of that, there’s a bond between officers that comes with the job,” said one of his supervisors, Sergeant Bob Scurria. “It’s bad enough to lose any cop, but this one I worked closely with, and it hurts.”
Howe’s death was the first fatality in the Oakland Unified School District police force since its inception 42 years ago.
Police work was in Howe’s blood, said his mother He was born July 16, 1960, in Berea, Kentucky, the son of a state trooper When he was just six units shy of his bachelor’s degree in economics, Howe came home and told his mother, “Mom, I want to be a policeman.”
After going through the academy, Howe started working in the Oakland Police Youth Services Division. He was assigned to patrol schools in the Oakland Unified School District, where he investigated vandalism, burglaries and other crimes involving students.
Linda Mussman said her son tried to make a difference in the East Oakland community. Howe often spent his own lunch money to take abused children to McDonald’s, his mother said. At times he felt it was a losing battle. “I take one gun away, they come back with ten more,” he once told her.
“He was doing what he really wanted to do all his life. It made me really proud. If there’s any consolation, that’s it said Howe’s fiancee, Kendra Peterson. “But it’s not much.”
Howe’s supervisor, Sergeant Harold Boutte, said Howe was too strong to let anything upset his mind. “He talked health, happiness and hope to every student and person he met. He worked only for the best, and only accepted the best. He was too large for words, too noble for anger, too strong for fear and too happy to admit the presence of trouble and danger.”
The suspect in Howe’s death was killed April 18 in a hail of gunfire at a roadblock after a four-hour siege in which he wounded three people. At the request of the family, a scholarship fund was created in memory of Howe for Fremont High School students entering criminal law education fields. Checks can be made out to the Tim Howe Scholarship Fund and mailed to Oakland Unified School District Police Services Office, 1025 Second Ave., Room 111, Oakland, CA 94606.