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Patrolman James Owens, Jr. | Charleston County Police Department, South Carolina Charleston County Police Department, South Carolina


James Owens, Jr.

Charleston County Police Department, South Carolina

End of Watch: Saturday, May 11, 1968

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 34

Tour: Not available

Badge # Not available

Cause: Gunfire

Weapon: Handgun; .22 caliber

Offender: Died in prison

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Patrolman James Owens was shot and killed while transporting a prisoner he had just arrested.

He had responded to an accident and had transported an injured woman and her boyfriend to the hospital. While at the hospital the boyfriend became disorderly and Patrolman Owens arrested him. As he took the man to jail the man produced a .22 caliber handgun and shot Patrolman Owens in the neck four times.

The suspect was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to death September 18th, 1968. His sentence was later commuted to life. He died in prison in May of 2010.

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What happened was these two, woman and her boyfriend, were in an accident in an area called Rantols, which is off of Hwy. 17 South. Jim was responding to a vehicle accident with minor injuries. He had taken them to the hospital, and had no reason to search them before they got in the back seat! At that time we didn't have EMS. We had 5 stationwagon patrol cars assigned to different sections of the county, that double as patrol cars and ambulances. The man became disorderly at the hospital, and Jim searched him before he put him back in the cruiser to take him to jail! What happened was the man had the gun on him when Jim was giving them a ride from the accident scene to the hospital. The man had hidden the pistol in the back seat on the long ride to the hospital. On the way to the jail the man recovered the gun from his hiding spot and shot Jim in the back of the head while he was driving!

Gene Phillips, Patrolman
Charleston County Police Dept. November 1967-February 1970
August 31, 2015


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