Hypothetically speaking, what would you do if you left your gun safe open for three days, your three-year-old son gained access to a loaded gun and shot himself in the head? How would you respond to the police investigation? Would you STFU, talk to a lawyer, prepare a statement, own-up and accept your punishment? Not if you’re a cop without a conscience. “Following the shooting, [Clark County Sheriff’s Department Detective Ed] Owens and his wife persistently blamed the shooting on their 11-year-old. Reports said they thought she had opened the safe for the boy. They also thought she was showing signs of suicide and homicidal violence . . .”
However, other friends and doctors concluded she was a normal child experiencing grief from her brother’s death and isolation from her family.
Owens, according to reports, had the girl admitted to a hospital for treatment of mental illness following the shooting. With the intervention of the state’s Child Protective Services, the girl was released days later to stay with her great-grandmother in Vancouver. Then, the family planned for her to go to live with her father in Southern California.
On Oct. 27, 2010, Owens and his wife drove the girl to the airport. On the way there, they pulled the car over and ordered her to tell them what happened the night of the shooting, according to police reports. When she explained she fell asleep, Owens reportedly called her a (expletive) liar.
Owens’ wife allegedly slapped the girl and made threats that she would be hit with a belt if she didn’t confess, according to police reports. “Ed, give me your belt,” the woman said, according to police reports. Owens handed over his belt, though he later told investigators he didn’t know why she wanted it.
After the stepdaughter wouldn’t change her story, Owen’s wife then took the girl to a fast-food restaurant’s restroom. The two returned 45 minutes later, Owens said, and got back in the car. The girl then agreed to admit that she opened the safe. Owen’s wife recorded the alleged confession on her cellphone, according to the internal affairs investigation. The Owenses later gave investigators the tape as new evidence, but the investigators said they could tell the tape had been doctored.
Owens was reprimanded in the internal affairs investigation for not stepping in when his wife allegedly made threats against the girl, whose name was redacted from the report.
“Deputy Owens took an oath as a police officer to protect the innocent and to safeguard lives and property,” Horch wrote in the internal affairs report. “To the contrary, he did not safeguard (his stepdaughter), and was an active participant in the deception and intimidation against (his stepdaughter).”
-Courtesy of the (Vancouver, Washington) Columbian
To sum up from the Internal Affairs probe, Detective Owens negligently stored his firearms, lied to his brother officers about his son’s access to the weapons, and then tried to frame his young stepdaughter for manslaughter.
As a punishment, he’s been on vacation for the last 14 months and paid nearly $60,000 from my county’s coffers. While my community is cutting teachers and bus routes and library hours, Detective Ed Owens is receiving nearly $5,000 a month to do absolutely nothing.
Our county prosecutor says he can’t charge Owens with any crime; the alleged witness tampering (read: threatening his stepdaughter until she promised to take the fall for him) occurred in Portland, Oregon. The Portland D.A. declined to press charges, because Portland never charges or fires bad cops.
To call Detective Ownens an Irresponsible Gun Owner Of The Day is slightly misleading. If these published reports are even half true, he’s an irresponsible lying, vicious scumbag gun owner who terrorized and manipulated a little girl into taking the fall for him.
You could say Owen’s actions after the tragedy were the result of unfathomable grief. Not me. Taking responsibility for any firearms-related irresponsibility is a big part of being a gun owner. And a decent human being.