A Maryland police officer was arrested and charged with second-degree murder Tuesday after the fatal shooting of a man who was handcuffed in a police cruiser, according to CBS affiliate WUSA-TV. Corporal Michael Owen Jr. is also being charged with manslaughter and associated weapons charges in the death of William Green.
Chief Hank Stawinski called the announcement "the most difficult moment of my tenure as your Chief of Police," according to WUSA-TV.
Police initially said Monday that they received a 911 call at about 8 p.m. reporting a male driver who had struck multiple cars, WUSA-TV reported. Officers said they located Green and thought he was under the influence after smelling what they believed to be PCP in his car.
Police added that they handcuffed Green and buckled him into the front seat of a police cruiser. Two independent witnesses claimed they heard or saw a fight in the front seat and heard loud bangs, according to police. They added that Owen shot Green multiple times, and that lifesaving measures were attempted before he was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
Stawinski walked back some of those claims on Tuesday.
"We do not believe PCP was involved, we do not have independent witnesses that observed a struggle and we do not know for certain that Mr. Green was seat-belted in that cruiser," Stawinksi said, according to WUSA-TV. He added that seating Green in the front of the car is standard departmental procedure when the vehicle does not have a transport partition, which Owen's cruiser did not.
Police said Owen was not wearing a body camera. He has worked with the department for 10 years, and is assigned to the Bureau of Patrol.
Green's family is represented by Billy Murphy, the attorney who represented the family of Freddie Gray, according to Murphy's office.