'This Isn't My Uncle:' NJ Family Stunned After Hostage Standoff
LOGAN TOWNSHIP, NJ – A family and community are left searching for answers after a deadly 3-hour hostage standoff at a New Jersey UPS facility on Monday.
The suspect, identified as 39-year-oldWilliam Owens of Sicklerville, is dead, the Attorney General’s Office confirmed Monday evening. Because it was a fatal police-involved shooting, the Attorney General’s Office is investigating the incident.
Owens had already left the facility with his two hostages when he was shot, according to the Attorney General’s Office. Multiple law enforcement officers had fired at Owens, who was armed with a handgun, authorities said. He was pronounced deceased on the scene.
The investigation is ongoing, and authorities had no further information Monday evening.
Owens’ current girlfriend told 6 ABC he had been struggling with the recent loss of his brother, and he may have had mental health issues.
Owens’ niece, who wasn’t identified, told nj.com that nobody in their family “had seen this coming. It just came out of nowhere.” The niece said, “This isn’t my uncle,” according to a video posted by nj.com.
“Everybody has kids. The (people taken hostage) have kids. My uncle has kids. My family all loves each other, no matter who’s right or wrong,” his niece told nj.com. “Right now, everyone’s just nervous and hoping it’s going to be a good outcome as far as him staying alive. There’s nothing that can take the place of hearing your family say ‘I love you’ again.”
Owens’ niece was seen speaking here at the 1:05 mark:
At about 8:30 a.m., Owens entered the UPS facility at 200 Birch Creek Road with a gun and took two employees hostage, according to Gloucester County Prosecutor Charles Fiore. Shots were fired, but no one was injured.
During the standoff, 32 people working in the facility were evacuated to a nearby Holiday Inn. Some of those employees spoke to local media. One worker told NBC10 Owens pistol-whipped a security guard.
Another told The Associated Press he heard another employee yell that a man had a gun, and began running with other employees when he heard what he thought was gunfire.
Before the shooting, negotiations involving the prosecutor’s office, local and state police and the FBI were ongoing for three hours, Fiore said.
“UPS is working with law enforcement as they respond to an active shooter situation at one of the company’s supply chain processing facilities in Logan Township, New Jersey,” a spokesperson for UPS said in a statement Monday morning. “We cannot provide information about the identity of people involved at this time.”
Owens was shot just before noon. Police initially said he had been hospitalized. The two hostages, both women, were safe and being evaluated, authorities said.
Authorities have said there was a relationship between Owens and at least one of the women, but they haven’t specified what that relationship was. One employee told 6abc one of the hostages was his ex-girlfriend and had a restraining order against him.
NBC10 also reported that a man came into the facility with a gun and was holding his ex-girlfriend and another person hostage. Police said Owens doesn’t work at the sorting facility.
Live video of the scene was shown here:
Travel restrictions were imposed on Center Square Road and Birch Creek Road in Logan Township during the standoff. This incident was contained at the UPS Facility and all other businesses and areas within the community were secure, according to county officials.
The Logan Township School District was in a modified lockdown, according to the school district. All students and staff in the district were safe.
Video previously provided to 6abc from the scene shows police entering the facility. There was no word on any injuries.
The facility is described as a large warehouse in an industrial park between I-295 and Route 130 near the Delaware River, according to the Courier Post.
In New Jersey, all investigations of police deadly force incidents are governed by the Attorney General’s Independent Prosecutor Directive, issued in 2006 and strengthened in 2015, which establishes strict procedures for conducting such investigations.
It requires the Attorney General to review all deadly force investigations, and in some cases conduct them as well. In this case, the investigation is being conducted directly by the Attorney General’s Shooting Response Team.
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The Attorney General’s Shooting Response Team is investigating in this case because of the involvement of the Gloucester County SWAT Team.
The directive further provides that unless the undisputed facts indicate the use of force was justified under the law, the circumstances of the incident must ultimately be presented to a grand jury, composed of 23 civilians, for its independent review.