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Teen's Death During Chase Drawing Fire

Teen's Death During Chase Drawing Fire

San Antonio Express-News via YellowBrix

January 19, 2010

SAN ANTONIO – Even when off the clock, San Antonio police officers have a responsibility to take action if they witness a crime.

But how much action — and to what degree — was debated after a local teen was killed in a crash involving an off-duty patrolman who chased the teen and his brother, ramming his SUV into their truck.

The officer, a two-year member of the department, said he used deadly force only after the teen in the bed of the truck fired a shotgun at him, according to a police report.

“This defensive action by the officer was in response to the suspect’s threat of deadly force,” said Sgt. Chris Benavides, a spokesman for the San Antonio Police Department.

Benavides said a civilian also would have been justified in defending himself against such a threat.

The officer, Alonzio Hardin, 41, has been placed on administrative duty while the Police Department’s shooting team investigates the incident in which Ethan Owen died. Owen, 18, suffered fatal injuries when he was ejected from the bed of the truck after it crashed. His older brother, Eric, was driving the vehicle, police said. The 23-year-old was charged with aggravated robbery.

Criminologist Brian Withrow from Texas State University said the investigation should focus on whether Hardin’s use of deadly force was appropriate.

“He’s in the legal right to do that, but whether or not he used proper judgment is a different question altogether,” Withrow said.

Geoffrey Alpert, a criminologist at the University of South Carolina, said the issue becomes muddied because the younger sibling fired the shotgun.

“If you were just a good Samaritan following this person, I don’t think you’d be indicted,” he said. “I think the shotgun trumps everything.”

But Norman Owen, a former Bexar County deputy and the father of the teen killed, said the officer overreacted.

“I can’t understand why an off-duty police officer would chase those kids in a private vehicle,” the father said. “You’re trained to use a cell phone and call in, maybe, but not to do something that stupid.”

  • Joefriday_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Sorry but pulling a purse off a womans shoulder in VA is robbery. Then they knew they were being followed by the off duty officer and in an attempt to make thier getaway from the robbery they think it is OK to shoot at a person? They are violent criminals and the one son killed his own brother int he commission of a robbery he should get the max on everything. Officer did nothing wrong.

  • Dscf2012_max50


    over 4 years ago


    once the shotgun came out, they limited the officers available options. Common sense says if you shoot at a cop you are going to get hurt or worse. PERIOD

  • Norris-photo_max50


    over 4 years ago


    3 Strikes and your out...Strike one/ stole a purse...Strike two/got in the bed of a pick up...Strike three/fired a weapon at a police officer. Pretty much "reap what you sow" if you ask me.

  • Photo_user_banned_big


    over 4 years ago


    BUMP!!! Couldnt have said it better SkoolCop!!

  • Flags_and_stars_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Great job by Officer Hardin!

  • In_remembrance_of_oakland_pd_max50_max50_max50_max50_max50


    over 4 years ago


    The actions of the officer were appropiate for the situation. The two fleeing felons actions were the cause of one of their deaths.. I would find no fault on the part of the officer. The father should have taken action during the upbringing of these two POS's instead of trying to make excuses for their actions by blameing everyone else and not taking responsibility for the bad conduct.

  • White_shirt_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Glad the officer is okay. The boys decided their own fate as someone mentioned.

  • 25-1-13-a_1__max50


    over 4 years ago


    I'm sorry.... I am finding it difficult to feel bad for dad. Sounds to me like Norman Owen, a former Bexar County deputy and the father of the teen killed, has been making excuses for his two sons for most of their lives. Nothing has changed too much here except that both of his sons appear in fact to be a POS felons and now Owen is trying to redirect blame once again. Quick to "Monday Morning Quarterback" the actions of the involved off-duty officer instead of admitting he has two sons that qualify as P'sOS and that one payed the consequences of his actions. I'd like to see just how Owens would have handle the very same situation of someone leveling a shotgun at him while he was off-duty but actively serving and not from the comfort of his living-room today. As for his sons, just maybe if Owen had placed a well timed and targeted boot up both oh his sons fleshy hindquarters, this would not even be a discussion...... Just it were.

  • Does_this_ass_make_my_car_look_big_bumper_sticker-p128618847357252764tmn6_313_1__max50


    over 4 years ago


    Kudos my brother. Don't listen to the wannabe lawyers/experts and others who question your actions. Great job in stopping a felon.

  • 1460209889_m_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Great job officer Hardin

  • Anonymous-killer-whale-232189_1__max50


    over 4 years ago


    Choices and consequences by the crooks, and you can see the results didn't favor the bad guys. Glad the officer and the victim weren't hurt.

  • Police_link_badge_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Officers state of mind....Simple!!!!!

  • Strafzettel_max50


    over 4 years ago


    the sheep sometimes fear the sheep dog as he had teeth just like the wolf.......this officer is a sheep dog and gets a pat on the back from me...

  • Big_dog_pd_normal_max50


    over 4 years ago


    This is ridiculous. This officer, with only a couple years' experience, would obviously be full of zeal and want to be pro-active. Seeing a felony on progress, I would hope that any cop would have taken interest in the suspect's apprehension, and getting the vehicle's information was a good plan. None of his actions should negate the fact that he was FIRED UPON, and the suspects appeared to have no knowledge that he was an officer. I'm very tired of people second guessing the actions of LE to justify bad behavior by a suspect. Good job, officer, and glad you weren't hurt.

  • 021_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Consequences...and Responsibility....job well done by the officers....

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