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Sergeant Bruce Owens | Rhea County Sheriff's Department, Tennessee Rhea County Sheriff's Department, Tennessee


Bruce Owens

Rhea County Sheriff's Department, Tennessee

End of Watch: Thursday, December 29, 1994

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 60

Tour: 6 years

Badge # 118

Cause: Gunfire

Incident Date: 2/27/1982

Weapon: Gun; Unknown type

Offender: Committed suicide

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Sergeant Bruce Owens succumbed to gunshot wound
sustained in 1982 during an escape.

A work-release prisoner was being released to go to his night
shift job by an unarmed jailer. As he opened the cell door a
convicted felon being held for another department forced his
way out. Sergeant Owens walked in and tried to take custody
of the escapee and return him to the cell. The prisoner
resisted and during the scuffle he shot him with his weapon.
The escapee then took two officers hostage and forced them
to drive him in a patrol car to an area in the northern part of
Rhea County and forced the officers to handcuff themselves
to the screen and made his getaway. He eluded a massive
manhunt by numerous officers from several departments.

The escapee later committed an armed robbery in Louisiana,
shooting a responding officer, however, the officer was able,
with some help, to get back into his patrol car and and chase
the suspect to a residence a few blocks away. Officers
responded and surrounded the house and after a brief
standoff, heard a gun shot from inside the house and entered
to find the suspect dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Sergeant Owens was paralyzed from the waist down and
succumbed to complications from the gunshot wound on
December 30th, 1994.

Sergeant Owens had served with the Rhea County Sheriff's
Department for six years.

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Most Recent Reflection

Your heroism and service is honored today, the 15th anniversary of your death. Your memory lives and you continue to inspire. Thank you for your service. My cherished son Larry Lasater was murdered in the line of duty on April 24, 2005 while serving as a Pittsburg, CA police officer.
I pray for solace for those who miss and love you for I know the pain and pride are forever.

Rest In Peace.

Phyllis Loya

Phyllis Loya
mother of fallen officer Larry Lasater
December 29, 2009


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