Family, rescuer coping after shooting in Steiner

Ryan Wells is credited as a hero for his act of bravery in subduing Britt Howe until police arrived after Howe shot his gun during an aggravated assault and kidnapping case at the Meritage at Steiner Ranch apartments on Sunday. “I only did what I’ve always been taught,” Wells said. “Protect the ones you care about, especially if they can’t protect themselves.”

By LYNETTE HAALAND, Four Points News

The victims are still shaken as the investigation continues on Britt Howe, who remains in custody, charged with aggravated kidnapping and assault, after he drove his mother at gunpoint to his ex-wife’s apartment in Steiner Ranch before firing shots into the apartment on Sunday.

“They are slowly coping. They are very upset and very scared of every little bump,” said Ryan Wells, the family friend who rescued the family and subdued Howe until police arrived at the scene.

Wells said that it is not helping that Meritage at Steiner Ranch has yet to come and fix the door that was bashed in.

“They secured it with a piece of small wood (dowl) and I put another board in place, but it is still not secure, and it scares them,” Wells said.

He said on Thursday that he hasn’t slept hardly at all for the past four nights “making sure they are ok and being there for the three of them.”

Wells added, “That family has been really good friends to me and helped me (in the past).”  

The traumatic experience started just after noon on April 14 when Howe, 47, drove his mother at gunpoint to 4500 Steiner Ranch Blvd., said Kristen Dark, spokesperson for the Travis County Sheriff’s Office.

Once they arrived at the complex, Howe forced his mother to knock on the front door of his ex-wife’s apartment, Dark said.

“The ex-wife opened the door. The ex-mother in law ran in, locked the door and said ‘take cover, hide,’” Dark said.

Immediately after that Howe fired multiple shots at the apartment, with one shot hitting the door, according to the report. Howe forced himself inside. Then Wells confronted him and began to fight with him, ultimately subduing Howe and wresting the weapon from him, Dark said.

While that was happening, the ex-wife and another family member frantically jumped from a third-floor balcony onto a second-floor roof line. They went onto a neighbor’s second-floor balcony and from that apartment, called 9-1-1 around 1:30 p.m.

Dark applauded the mother and Wells for their courageous acts.

“The swift actions of the apartment occupants prevented this incident from ending in a much, much worse outcome,” Dark said. “If it weren’t for (their) actions, this could have been a multiple-homicide.”  

Howe was arrested around 9 p.m. on Sunday and is at the Travis County Jail. He’s charged with burglary of a habitation with the intent to commit a felony with bail set at $1 million, aggravated kidnapping with bail set at $500,000, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon with bail set at $250,000, and aggravated assault with bail set at $500,000.

“This was clearly an isolated incident and the suspect is in custody, therefore the public is not in danger,” Dark said.

Wells is considered a hero. His act of bravery was no small feat.
“My father owns Peak Performance Martial Arts and I trained for many, many years,” Wells said. “That training saved not only their lives but my own.”
He has lived in Steiner on and off for six years. He worked as a sous chef at Zach’s American Bistro before it closed and then he said he ran Bon Temps Creuset at Oasis Texas before it closed. But he knows much more than food and his martial arts training helped potentially save lives.
“Even though I did what I did because they are like family and I love them, I would have done it for any one in the situation,” Wells said. “Protect the ones you care about, especially if they can’t protect themselves.”  
Britt Howe, 47, was arrested Sunday after a shooting at the Meritage apartment complex in Steiner Ranch.