Ceremony held to honor Charleston officer killed on duty in 1968

James Owens Jr. served the Charleston County community in a time when it was rare to see an officer of color. His friends and family said he broke barriers and unfortunately lost his life to senseless gun tragedy.

"I was about 12-years-old when daddy got killed," James Owens III said.

Decades have passed, yet the memory of James Owens Jr. still lives on through his children

"Just before that, it was Dr. King, then daddy got killed," Owens III added.

All of his children attended the ceremony to honor their father. "I was young when he got killed. I thank everybody what they're doing right now for him, but I miss my father," his daughter Ramona Owens-McDonald added.

The year was 1968, Owens was one of the first African-Americans to work as a police officer in Charleston. He was shot and killed in the line of duty. His partner says he was a stellar officer. "He was a well-liked officer."

Former Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon remembered him as trailblazer. "They were pioneers in their time and to be one of the first and to lose your life in the line of duty, like Patrolman Owens did, is certainly commendable."

Owens was shot four times in the neck by a suspect he had just arrested..

"In 50 years, nothing has really changed in reference to gun violence," Owens nephew, Freddy Waley Jr. said.

His family hopes for changes to gun laws on the very night Officer James Owens Jr was honored by the very county he served.

Owens will also have a street dedicated in his honor.

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