By Mark F. Gray
AFRO Staff Writer
Corporal Michael Owen, Jr., the Prince George’s County Police officer who is facing murder charges in the death of William Green, was reportedly involved in a 2011 fatal shooting days before Christmas.
Rodney Deron Edwards, who was 35 at the time, was reportedly found lying in the grass on the 7500 block of Greenleaf Road when Owen approached to check on his condition in an unmarked van that was being used to transport toys while he was still in uniform. He was en route from the department’s Toys For Tots event when he noticed the victim on December 17, 2011.
Corporal Michael Owen Jr., has allegedly killed two men while performing police duties after an incident in December 2011 and January 2020. (Courtesy Photo)
Edwards’ family publicly asked for the PGPD to reopen the investigation after Owen was arrested and charged last week with the murder in Green’s death. He is being held without bond until his hearing on Feb. 28.
Prince George’s County State’s Attorney spokesperson Denise Roberts told WTOP-FM that a senior prosecutor has been assigned to the case and is collecting evidence from the 2011 shooting.
According to archived reports from The Washington Post, Owen, who had only been with the department for two years at the time, is believed to have shot and killed the Landover man after leaving the holiday charity function. The shooting in 2011 occurred after Owen claimed Edwards, who was lying face down on the side of the road, looked to need help, but then had a gun.
Owen never faced charges in Edwards’ death.
The reporting, at the time, states that Owen turned around when noticing Edwards lying face down in the grass and claimed he approached to check on him. After leaving the vehicle Owen claimed that the suspect at the time turned over and drew a gun, which prompted him to fatally discharge his weapon.
There was a loaded gun that was recovered from the scene, but authorities were never able to prove that it had been drawn or the officer was facing an imminent threat to his life.
That was reportedly the second time in the early stages of his career where he drew his weapon and fired. Investigators were never able to find out what was been said between Edwards and Owens and the surveillance camera on the street was pointed away from the shooting.
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 results of toxicology results to confirm that. That earlier investigation never concluded what Edwards’ “state of mind” during that incident.
Owen was also involved in a 2009 shooting, when someone tried to rob him outside his home while he was off duty according to the newspaper accounts as well. However, Owen was not charged in either incident.
The similarities between the two fatal events of 2011 and 2020 seem to parallel each other. As the investigations continue, there are still unsubstantiated allegations of both victims being under the influence of alcohol and PCP, which may have played a role in their deaths by the same officer who sits behind bars waiting for his day in court.