Man Charged with Attempting to Murder City Middletown Police Officer
At a lengthy press conference in Middletown on Tuesday, District Attorney David Hoovler announced that Officer Evan Barone has been cleared of any wrongdoing when he returned fire after being shot while on patrole on Friday, August 29. Even better, Barone was released on from the hospital on Wednesday to a large crowd of cheering and saluting well-wishers from state and local police, fire departments and other well-wishers.
Barone was flagged down by a woman in distress in Middletown on August 29 on Myrtle Avenue and exited his patrol vehicle to determine the problem. She pointed to a man on a porch in front of them. Someone yelled “He’s got a gun”, and within about 25 seconds DeSean Owen , 29, from the Bronx, raised the gun and shot Barone in the forearm. Barone, standing between the shooter and a car full of children returned fire, hitting Owens in his lower body. Assistance from other units had already been requested and the assailant was taken into custody and later arraigned on charges of Attempted Murder in the First Degree, Criminal Use of a Firearm in the First Degree and Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree, along with felony complaints alleging that Owens attempted to kill a City of Middletown Police officer by shooting him with a 9 mm pistol.
Owens was remanded to the custody of the Orange County Sheriff without bail. The case was adjourned to September 11, 2020, in the City of Middletown Court, although the District Attorney’s Office stated on the record that the matter would be presented to the Grand Jury before that date.
The entire incident was recorded on a neighbor’s video camera. Hoovler showed the video during his press conference, and showed it in 3 different views, including slow motion at 50% speed. The videos are also available to watch online.
As the Press Conference continued, DA Hoovler discussed relations between police and the communities in Orange County. Stating that out of 140,000 calls by the community over the year there were only 9 complaints by callers. He added that while no one is perfect, and there certainly have at times been officers that acted improperly in the County in situations that must be dealt with, he stands by their record, and thinks that much of their success is due to the ongoing efforts of police for improving community relations, along with recent advisory boards that are set up for dialogue between area community members and police departments.
As is protocol in Orange County for any officer involved shooting, there is a District Attorney and State Police review of whether the officer’s actions were called for. Both Hoovler and Middletown Police Chief John Ewanciw, as well as Middletown Mayor Joseph DeStefano called Barone’s actions heroic, and said that his quick action may well have saved numerous injuries or possibly even deaths. When asked about the other individuals in and around the house, Chief Ewanciw said they had been very cooperative.
“The attempted murder of a police officer is a crime which strikes at the very heart of public safety and the criminal justice system,” said District Attorney David M. Hoovler. “Now, more than ever, it is essential that those who illegally use weapons are held accountable and it is equally important that the public has confidence in the integrity of the investigation and the prosecutorial process utilized in these cases.”
During the incident Barone had self-administered a tourniquet on the injured arm, called for backup, and followed up on securing the situation. Both he and the assailant, Owens, were brought to local hospitals for treatment in stable condition. Officer Barone, upon arriving at the hospital refused to be brought in, and insisted on walking in “on his own two feet”.