Deputies searching for man who allegedly beat bystander in Verona

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AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) — Augusta County deputies are searching for a man they say attacked a bystander who tried to intervene in a domestic dispute.

At about 7 a.m. on Thursday, the Augusta County Sheriff's Office was called to the 300 block of Lee Hwy. in Verona for a reported assault.

Deputies say they were dispatched to a domestic situation between a man and a woman, but both were gone when they arrived. A man who was uninvolved in the situation tried to intervene, but was struck in the head with a blunt object.

The bystander was hospitalized for injuries to his torso and head.

The suspect was described as a white man wearing a black sweatshirt. Deputies soon found a man matching that description on Quicks Mill Road.

The man, identified as James Allen Howard, was reportedly carrying a baseball bat and wearing black pants, a black t-shirt, and a black toboggan. When he was confronted, he took off on foot and was last seen in the area of Meade's Trailer Park, off of Route 11.

Deputies believe Howard to be homeless, but say he frequents Verona.

Warrants have obtained for his arrest on malicious wounding charges.

Howard was convicted in March 2018 of disorderly conduct, when a misdemeanor charge of assault was dropped. He has an upcoming hearing in April for disorderly conduct as well, and was convicted of contempt of court in November 2017.

If you have any information about this situation, you're asked to contact he Augusta County Sheriff’s Office at 540-245-5333 or Crime Stoppers at 800-322-2017.