Police Shooting Investigation

Monday, April 23rd 2007, 11:09 am
By: News On 6

A Tulsa Police officer shot a man Sunday night. He's alive, and his family says they don't believe the police version of what happened. It started with a report of a burglary at a home and ended with the homeowner being shot in a car right in front of the house. The man who was shot has a record. In fact, he was picked up last week for possession of marijuana and drug trafficking, but his family says that has nothing to do with what happened Sunday night. The News On 6’s Emory Bryan reports he was shot after he pulled up to his house where police were investigating a report of a burglary.

Alice Martinez admits her son has been arrested before, but says he didn't do anything to deserve being shot.

“They said they found a knife in the car,” said Martinez. “My son wouldn't carry that. One of his friends left that in there. He wouldn't carry any kind of weapon.”

Police say they were investigating a burglary call when Martinez Owens drove up. They say he was driving in a suspicious manner, and they thought he was under the influence.

"The driver was unresponsive to officers’ commands,” said Tulsa Police Officer Jason Willingham. “While they were talking to him, the subject put the vehicle in reverse and tried to back out of the driveway."

An officer fired three shots into the car. Owens was hit, and police say when they searched his car, they found PCP. His family says he was hit in both arms and the chest, but will recover. They don't believe police should have shot him.

“He was just crying, said Mama they trying to kill him, that they just walked up and started shooting. He said the only reason he's here is by the grace of God,” said Martinez.

Owens has been in the news before. His son, Martinez Owens Jr., died of a rare infection. He was one of two boys who contracted an infection from stagnant water at a Tulsa park. The family recently settled a lawsuit against the city over that. Now the family is dealing with a new crisis.

"He's really upset right now,” said Owens’ wife, Diana. “Just not believing, not understanding why they shot him."

The officer who shot Owens was suspended from duty. That's routine after any use of deadly force. The burglary call that started all of it turned out to be nothing.

Related story:

4/23/2007 - Officer Involved Shooting

Related stories about the family:

8/8/2005 - Testing To Determine Source Of Deadly Infection In Tulsa

8/9/2005 - Health Official Says Deadly Infection May Be Treatable

2/14/2007 - Lawsuit Over Boys Who Died From Rare Illness Settled