Huntsville Police Chief provides update on deadly officer involved shooting investigation

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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.

17 comments

  • styles johnson

    Huntsville police officers! You can’t even just do what is called close-combat take down of a mentally deranged man without reaching for your gun. What a shame! Youu are all weak punks who can’t stand a fight.

  • smith

    Everyone thinks there above the law why should a police officer take a chance of getting hurt when someone tries to attack them with a gun or a knife I feel they took the correct actions in shooting the offender keep in mind police officers have family’s to go home to also the ones who criticize what took place would take the same actions if someone was trying to harm them and possibly prevent them from going home safe

  • styles johnson

    Whatever it was, it was just a knife and these guys training, if i’m not mistaken, involves hand combat drills. You know disarming objects out of a suspect without being lethal. Why do you alwaysresort to point-n-shoot???

  • styles johnson

    Two so-called trained officers can’t sub due a knife wielding mentally unstable man. Huh?? I mean i just have a few choice words for these two ‘men’….i meet these officers at the end zone lounge all the time and wwithout that gun, they are the most terrified people i know…

  • Nuclear Mike

    The Chief “carefully” chose his words in his public statement(s) and did not choose to release the dead man’s picture until later…a man with a knife is extremely dangerous & deadly if within 20 feet of his intended victim(s)…the Officers protected their lives and that of the Public by being compelled to use deadly force by the dead man’s actions.

  • styles johnson

    May be they should rename it to Huntsville Punk Department. U can’ t subdue a knife wielding fool, even with all the free access fo gyms, martial arts classes…you are punks.

  • styles B. johnson

    I sure will. I DARE YOU. may be all the officers of the department should come for a course from me about disarming people of weapons like knives, and yes even guns. You don’t have to just point and shoot all the time and justify your actions about how your line of work is so hazardous. what about other occupations? The man was mentally unstable, I mean, probably having a psychotic episode and all you can do is take his life out. shame on you. God is watching.

    • Just saying

      Styles- And the man who blew up the theater was “psychotic”, and the kid who shot up Colombine was “psychotic”….. heck… Bin Laden was “psychotic”. What is your point?
      I have an idea… why dont our troops go over and fight ISIS with bear hugs and sweet talk. NOT.

    • LAC

      Tough guy black belt in the comfort of you home. Why are you not teaching your 100% method of disarming people if it works so well. Better watch out, some of those keys on the keyboard could really harm you if your not careful.

  • styles johnson

    LAC, you can’t possibly bethreatening me. We all respect your work but you just can’t go around shooting people cuz you have no other tactics besides eliminating people permanently. I question your workmanship skills. Period.

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