UPDATED 1/29, 9:55 p.m ET: Prince George's County state's attorney’s office is now reviewing a 2011 incident where Owen shot and killed a 35-year-old man named Rodney D. Edwards, BuzzFeed News reports. Owens allegedly saw Edwards lying in the grass after leaving the department’s annual "Toys for Tots" event, and approached him to check on his well-being. Owens claims he fired several shots at Edwards when he pulled a handgun and pointed it at him.
Owens was placed on administrative leave at the time, and ultimately, was never charged.
UPDATED 7:05 p.m ET: Corporal Michael Owen, a police officer with Prince George's County police, has been charged with manslaughter, second-degree murder, and associated weapons charges in the killing of William Green, WUSA9 reports.
"I have concluded that what happened last night is a crime," Prince George’s County Police Chief Hank Stawinski said at a press conference on Tuesday. Green was shot seven times.
See original story below.
The incident took place around 8 p.m. in Temple Hills, a suburb of Washington D.C. Police were responding to a 911 call about a driver who had hit multiple cars, said Christina Cotterman, a spokeswoman for Prince George's County Police Department, per USA Today.
When officers approached the man, they believed he smelled like PCP, so they handcuffed him, put him in the front passenger seat of the cruiser, and buckled his seat belt as they called in a drug recognition expert.
Cotterman said it was standard practice for officers to place a suspect in the front passenger seat of a police car. Then, when an officer entered the driver’s seat of the car, he fired his gun multiple times.
“Two independent witnesses tell our investigators that they see a struggle or hear a struggle of some sort coming from the cruiser, and they hear loud bangs,” Cotterman said. Officers attempted to save the handcuffed man’s life, but he died in the hospital.
The spokeswoman said that the cop didn’t have a body camera and that investigators were looking for surveillance cameras in the area that may have recorded the incident. “We are determined to find out what happened inside of that cruiser,” she said.
The officer has been placed on administrative leave and would be identified on Tuesday, she said. The dead man hasn’t been identified yet.