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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Man charged with attempted murder after allegedly opening fire on Leesburg Police officer

Donaven Leon Owens

A 20-year-old man is behind bars after being accused of shooting at a Leesburg Police officer who suffered a head injury during the incident.

Officers were called to investigate an aggravated assault with a firearm near Glen Ridge Drive and Maugans Avenue shortly before 1 p.m. Tuesday. Senior Officer Mark Johnson, 31, spotted the suspect, later identified as Donaven Leon Owens, of Leesburg, walking on Glen Ridge Drive about three blocks away and stopped to speak with him, a Leesburg Police report states.

As Johnson exited his patrol vehicle, Owens allegedly pulled out a handgun and started shooting at him. As bullets struck Johnson’s vehicle in the hood and windshield, he returned fire and as he was seeking cover, he fell backward and struck his head on the pavement. Owens then fled the scene and ran toward the Shamrock Lounge on U.S. Hwy. 441 with Johnson chasing him on foot while calling out on his police radio that shots had been fired, the report says.

Leesburg Police officers apprehended 20-year-old Donaven L. Owens near the Shamrock Lounge on U.S. Hwy. 441 on Tuesday afternoon after he was accused of shooting at Senior Officer Mark Johnson.

Other responding officers converged on the area as Owens started to run across the highway. After seeing him heading toward a nearby hotel and private school, one of the responding officers attempted to stop Owens by striking him with his patrol car. But he still continued to flee across U.S. Hwy. 441 and was eventually apprehended in a nearby field, the report says.

Leesburg Police Senior Officer Mark Johnson, shown during a Christmas event for children last year.

Neither Johnson nor Owens were struck during the exchange of gunfire. Johnson’s head was bleeding heavily when he arrived at the scene of the arrest and he was subsequently transported to Leesburg Regional Medical Center, where he was treated and released with a concussion. Owens also was taken to the same hospital with minor injuries but was medically cleared late Tuesday afternoon and then transported to the Lake County Jail.

Leesburg detectives responded to the scene to investigate the assault on Johnson. Investigators from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office assisted with processing the crime scene. And per normal protocol and policy, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement was requested to investigate the officer-involved shooting.

Owens, who lives at 711 Scenic St. in Leesburg, was booked into the jail shortly before 8 p.m. and charged with attempted first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer, aggravated assault with a firearm, use/display of a firearm during a felony, carrying a concealed unlicensed firearm and resisting an officer without violence. He was being held on no bond and is due in court on Dec. 30 at 8:30 a.m. to answer to the charges.

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