Bladen County authorities identify suspect killed in officer-inv - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Bladen County authorities identify suspect killed in officer-involved shooting

Declan Owen, 24, was killed during an officer-involved shooting in Bladen County. (Source: Bladen County Sheriff's Office) Declan Owen, 24, was killed during an officer-involved shooting in Bladen County. (Source: Bladen County Sheriff's Office)
BLADEN COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Authorities have identified the man killed during an officer-involved shooting in Bladen County Tuesday night.

According to officials, 24-year-old Declan Owen, of Elizabethtown, was shot and killed by officers during an incident in a wooded area on NC Highway 41 near Dublin, NC.

Officers from the Bladen County Sheriff's Office and the Bladenboro Police Department responded to a 911 call about a man with a gun lying in a ditch in the 1100 block of Hickory Grove Ballpark Road around 7 p.m.

According to Chief Deputy Larry Guyton with the Bladen County Sheriff's Office, when officers arrived, witnesses said the suspect caught a ride with a nearby homeowner. Officials said the homeowner did not know Owen. Witnesses provided officers with a description of the vehicle. 

Authorities encountered the vehicle in the 8100 block of Highway 41, near West Bladen High School. Guyton said when officers attempted to stop the vehicle, Owen ran into the woods.

Officials, concerned over a baseball game at nearby West Bladen High, created a perimeter and began to search for Owen. Two officers found tracks believed to be Owen's and entered the woods to locate him.

"The immediate concern was that he was very close to West Bladen High school where there was a ongoing baseball game," said Chief Deputy Larry Guyton. "At that point in time we didn't know anything about this man other than he was seen laying in a ditch and armed with a gun."

According to Guyton, the officers found Owen lying down with his back on the ground and his head propped up against a tree, he was reportedly facing the road. Officers ordered him to show his hands. Owen refused, and the officers asked several more times for him to comply. Guyton said Owen raised his hands and then pointed a gun at the officers. 

The officers fired several shots at Owen, who was later pronounced dead at the scene. Guyton could not say how man shots were fired or how many times Owen was hit. Guyton said Owen never fired a shot during the incident. An autopsy is scheduled to be performed in Raleigh on Thursday.

"It was a tragic event," Guyston said. "Our sympathies are with the family."

Cpl. Cley Carroll of the Bladen County Sheriff's Office and Donnie Williamson of the Bladenboro Police Department have been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation. That is protocol following officer involved shootings.

District Attorney Jon David has requested the State Bureau of Investigation assist in the investigation. No officers were injured during the altercation.

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