Court house gunman found dead in cell

Officials with the Tennessee Department of Corrections reported the death of inmate Johnny Owen of Hohenwald last week.

Owen, the alledged shooter involved in an incident at the Lewis County Court House in October, was found unresponsive in his cell on November 16, 2016.  Owen was housed in the Deberry Special Needs Facility due to medical conditions following his arrest in Hohenwald October 14, 2016.

Johnny OwensA doctor at the Deberry facility pronounced him dead at 9:05 a.m. of an apparent suicide.  Owen, 64, was  reportedly in a single man cell and was being held as a pretrial safekeeper for the Lewis County Sheriff’s Department.

“All TDOC policies and procedures were followed appropriately and as in all in custody deaths, an investigation is underway.” a spokesperson for TDOC said.

Owen and his estranged wife became entangled in a struggle over a gun in October in a small courtroom on the upper level of the Lewis County Court House.  The gun disharged into a corner and Owen reportedly urged law enforcement officers to take his life.  The firearm was taken from Owen without incident and no one was injured.  

Owen was at Deberry awaiting a court date to face charges of attempted murder, aggravated assault, carrying weapons during judicial proceedings, possession of a handgun while under the influence and reckless endangerment.  Doctors had given Owen a terminal cancer diagnosis and he and his wife were in divorce procedings.

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