Man Charged with Attempted 1st Degree Murder of Local Police Officer


On December 3, 2019, at approximately 12:45 a.m.officers of the Leesburg Police Department were summoned to roadway intersection of Glenn Ridge Drive and Miller Street, Leesburg, Florida about a report received through a 911 about a subject brandishing a firearm. The complainant advised that the had produced a firearm that he threatened the complainant with.


Donaven L Owens

The victim police officer arrived in the area within two minutes, at which time the complainant pointed out the suspect who was walking south along Glenn Ridge Drive. The victim officer stopped his vehicle a short distance behind the suspect and exited his fully marked patrol vehicle, and began walking towards the suspect.

The suspect responded almost immediately by reaching into his backpack, retrieving his firearm, and firing at the victim police officer. The officer was not struck by any of the projectiles fired at him and took evasive action and fell to the ground. He then returned fire at the suspect, after which the suspect began to flee from the scene, continuing south along Glenn Ridge Drive.


Several additional police units descended on the area to assist as the victim officer began pursuing after the fleeing suspect on foot. The suspect was located and taken into custody a short distance away, along US Hwy 441. During his apprehension, the suspect was identified as Mr. Donaven Leon Owens, hereafter referred to as the defendant.

While the defendant was being placed into handcuffs and searched, both the victim officer and the defendant were inspected for injury. It was determined that neither the defendant nor the victim officer had been struck in the exchange of gunfire, however, the officer had struck his head on the roadway when evading the defendant’s gunfire and was transported to a local hospital for further evaluation and treatment.

Simultaneous with the above, a citizen witness contacted the Leesburg Police agency to report that they had witnessed the defendant discard a firearm as he fled, and explained that the firearm was thrown underneath a parked vehicle in an adjacent parking lot. Officers immediately responded to the aforementioned parking lot, which was confirmed to be along the defendant’s path of flight, and located the firearm. The recovered firearm and was documented via photography.

The affiant officer then initiated investigative efforts, including interviewing the complainant and witness, and surveying the area.

The original complainant, advised that he had first observed the defendant walking along the roadway and appeared to be looking suspiciously at the homes and vehicles in the vicinity. The complainant advised that several burglaries had occurred in the area, and he decided to make contact with the defendant. Upon doing so, the defendant became “aggressive”, and the complainant decided to disengage from him to avoid any hostilities.

The defendant started walking away, however, reversed his course and re-engaged the complainant. The defendant began to verbally threaten the complainant, and then produced a firearm from his backpack which he pointed at the complainant’s chest from only a few feet away. The complainant advised that the defendant then attempted to shoot him, as he observed the defendant pulling the trigger of the firearm and could hear a series of clicking noises. The defendant then began manipulating the firearm in what is suspected to be an attempt to correct the malfunction.

The complainant who advised that he had been placed in extreme fear for his safety, retreated and concealed himself from the defendant as he called 911.

The complainant said that he remained on the phone with 911, and witnessed the unfolding sequence of events. The complainant maintained visual observance of the defendant as he continued walking south as the victim officer pulled up behind him, and the exchange of gunfire.

The complainant said that as the defendant fled, he discarded his firearm by throwing it in the direction of a parked vehicle before losing sight of both the defendant and officer, relaying all that had transpired to the 911 operator.

The affiant officer departed the scene and approached the defendant and identified themself and explained the nature of their presence, and conducted an auto recorded post miranda interview with the defendant affirming that he understood and waived his legal rights.

The defendant provided a concordant verbal statement, confirming that he had been in the area of the incident, he had possession of a firearm in his backpack, and pointed it at the complainant. He recapped the confrontation with the victim officer, stating that he thought the officer was “probably going to arrest me” referencing the fact that he had just pointed his gun at the complainant. The defendant advised that he didn’t recall the officer having time to say anything before the defendant fired at him. He then went on to say that he believed he had struck the officer when he fell to the ground and decided to flee and discard his weapon underneath a parked vehicle.

The defendant was placed under arrest and processed at the police department after which he was turned over to the Lake County Jail.

He was charged with the following: Aggravated Assault with a Firearm, Carrying a Concealed Firearm, Attempted 1st Degree Murder of Law Enforcement Officer, Use of a Firearm in the Commission of a Felony, and Resisting an Officer without Violence.