SOUTHINGTON — A local man who police say fired one round from his home, where he had barricaded himself, while the area SWAT team was trying to negotiate with him over the weekend threatened to kill himself and anyone who came to the house, according to court documents released Monday.
Police on Monday identified the man as Cox Owen, 50, of 60 Long Lane, who has been charged with illegal discharge of a firearm, second-degree reckless endangerment and second-degree breach of peace. Police were called to his home on Saturday, at about 3:50 p.m., on the report that a man was inside with a gun.
According to the police report, Owen had made suicidal statements to his wife throughout the day, holding a handgun up to his neck at one point and accusing her of infidelity. The woman told police Owen had stumbled upon some text messages between her and a male friend a day earlier, the report continued. Despite telling him multiple times nothing was going on between her and the friend, Owen repeatedly called her a liar, according to the report.
At one point, Owen told his wife if anyone pulled up to his driveway he would “take them out,” the report said. After telling his wife to leave for 20 minutes so he could “shoot himself in the head and splatter his brains all over the bedroom,” the report said, his wife panicked and left the home, calling 911 from her nearby father’s house.
Local police called for the area SWAT team, known as the Central Region Emergency Response Team. According to the report, Owen at one point came out of the home through the garage, wielding a long gun that looked like an AR-15.
At another point, police heard gunfire come from the home. The report does not indicate where the bullet ended up, but no injuries were reported.
Jennifer Zito, Owen’s attorney, maintained Monday during his arraignment in Bristol Superior Court that the gunfire was the result of an accidental discharge.
Police were eventually able to talk Owen into coming outside without any further incident. Officers said they seized an AR-15 rifle, a shotgun and two handguns from inside the house. Owen was taken to the Hospital of Central Connecticut, in New Britain, for an evaluation. He was later released into police custody.
During his arraignment Monday, court officials said Owen does not have a criminal record, aside from a driving while intoxicated conviction in Louisiana that was expunged. Officials also said he suffers from mental health issues.
Zito, in arguing for a much lower bond that the $250,000 that police set, told a judge Owen’s wife would take him to an inpatient psychiatric program at the Yale New Haven Hospital if she was able to bond him out. Zito added that a change to his medications contributed to his behavior.
Judge John Cronan set bail at $5,000 and ordered Owen not to possess any weapons or consume alcohol, and to abide by any treatment recommendations. Owen bonded out shortly after his hearing. He has not entered a plea and is due back in court on May 28.