Cellphone video shows driver of stolen van rampage


Christopher Howard, 55, arrested on suspect in insane crime spree.

SAN DIEGO — A Nevada man suspected of a killing spree in a stolen van last week was arrested Thursday, November 11, in Kearny Mesa.

Christopher Mitchell Howard, 55, could face an assault with a fatal weapon charge – the fatal weapon being the stolen van – at his arraignment in court Tuesday.

Police said the van was stolen from a Las Vegas restaurant on November 2.

On November 4, a construction worker recorded video with a cell phone of a white pickup truck plowing through a barricade and hitting another car on South 40th Street in San Diego’s Southcrest neighborhood.

Then, on November 6, the same van was suspected of smashing in the front door of a Vons grocery store on Regents Road in the Golden Triangle; not just once, but twice, according to a Starbucks employee confronting the driver.

“Yeah, he had his hand up like he was going to say it’s ok or back off. And then he pulled out and came in a second time,” said store clerk John Partika.

On November 10, San Diego police officers finally caught up with Howard in Kearny Mesa after he was arrested by a security guard at the Target store on Othello Ave.

As police led Howard to the parking lot in handcuffs, he attempted to run away and the attempted escape was captured on dashcam video.

But he didn’t get far when officers arrested him again. The suspect was heard rambling incoherently as a camera recorded his arrest.

“Very nice and very warm. That’s not what it is about. I was extremely compliant. Sorry to get the shit out of my face,” Howard said.

Police found the stolen van in Target’s parking lot. Officers also arrested a woman suspected of being a passenger in the van.

Howard is being held at Central Jail for grand larceny, possession of a stolen vehicle, and petty larceny. He is due to appear in court on Tuesday.

Howard could face an attack with a deadly weapon load if he can be positively identified as the driver who drove through the Southcrest construction site.


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