HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- A 34-year-old man wielding a knife crashed a vehicle into a parked Huntsville Police car outside the Public Safety Complex Wednesday evening, prompting an officer to shoot and kill Reginald Owens.
Thursday, Huntsville Police Chief Lewis Morris addressed the incident.
“Our hearts just go out to the family. As we said last night, this is a tragic incident. It was an isolated incident that resulted in the death of Mr. Owens,” Morris said. “We have reached out to the family and been in communication with them and conveyed that to the family. We are working with the family the best we can.”
Morris says he has a clear picture of Wednesday night’s events. He said it was a short event, lasting only seconds.
Before Owens went to the parking lot of the Public Safety Complex, he went to the Alabama State Trooper parking lot on Arcadia Drive. Morris said he hit a State Trooper and a forensic sciences vehicle.
Morris said two officers were in the parking lot of the Public Safety Complex, along with several civilian employees. Morris said Owens went through the east end of the parking lot where he struck an occupied patrol car parked in the lot around 5 p.m. One officer approached the car to see if there were any injuries. Owens exited the car armed with a fixed-blade knife. A confrontation ensued between Owens and the officer.
The second officer exited his car, and police say the confrontation continued.
"There was communication with Mr. Owens to drop the weapon and to stop his advance. The events continued," Morris said. "Officers made the decision to use deadly force. Both officers, two officers, fired on Mr. Owens and he was struck."
Morris said Owens was transported to Huntsville Hospital, where he died.
"Our indications, what we’ve found out up to this point is Mr. Owens, he had no history with the police department," Morris said. "We didn't know Mr. Owens, or had any contact with him. He is a veteran of the armed services. This appears to have been an isolated incident that for some reason he embarked on this course of action that unfortunately resulted in his death."
“We have been in communication with the family. Mr. Owens has left a wife and children," Morris said. They have had a lot to process and have had a lot of tragedy in the last 24 hours. They have asked that they have some private time in order to process all of that and to deal with it."
Chief Morris says the 2 officers involved in the shooting will remain on administrative leave through the weekend. He says they will be brought back Monday and assigned administrative duties as the incident review board continues their internal investigation.