Prince George’s County police have identified the officer who shot and killed a man after the man threatened him with a loaded gun in Palmer Park Saturday night as Michael Owen Jr., authorities said.
Owen, who has been on the department for two years, was just leaving a Toys for Tots event at police headquarters when he saw the man lying in the grass in the 7500 block of Greenleaf Road, authorities said. Owens — who was in uniform but driving an unmarked van that he had used to transport toys — stopped to help the man, and the man threatened him with a revolver, said Assistant Prince George’s Police Chief Kevin Davis.
“He simply saw a man in need of help, and he pulled over to render assistance,” Davis said.
Davis said Owen shot the man, 35-year-old Rodney Deron Edwards, 35, several times. He said investigators recovered Edwards’ loaded revolver on the scene.
Investigators are still probing what — if anything — was said between Edwards and Owen, Davis said. A surveillance camera on the street was pointed away from the shooting, and investigators have not yet been able to talk to any eyewitnesses to the incident, authorities said.
Investigators are also probing why Edwards would threaten a police officer with a gun. Davis said family members had suggested Edwards had been drinking Saturday, but investigators were awaiting the result of toxicology results to confirm that. He said they did not yet know Edwards’s “state of mind” during the incident.
The incident marks Prince George’s 15th police-involved shooting this year and eighth case where the person shot has died, Davis said. In 12 of the 15 incidents, he said, those shot were armed with guns. Separately, he said, three Prince George’s police officers have been shot this year, though none have died.
Owen was involved in another shooting in 2009, when someone tried to rob him outside his home in the Greenbelt area, Davis said. In that case, Davis said, Owen was off-duty when a would-be robber shot through a hooded sweatshirt he was wearing. Owen, whose body was not actually hit by the gunfire, returned fire, and the would-be robber fled, Davis said. No one has been charged in the case.