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Leesburg officer injured during shootout with suspect, police say

Police officer hit head during gunfire, officials say

LEESBURG, Fla. – A Leesburg police officer was injured, but not shot, during an exchange of gunfire with a suspect Tuesday afternoon, authorities said.

Leesburg Police Department officials said officers responded to a call around 1:30 p.m. in reference to an aggravated assault with a firearm.

Leesburg Police Department Senior Officer Mark Johnson, 31, who was close at the time, responded to the incident near Glenridge Boulevard and Miller Street.

“The officer stopped his fully marked patrol car in the middle of the street and began to exit the car when the suspect produced a handgun and immediately opened fire on the officer, striking the patrol car at least one time in the hood and windshield,” Police Chief Robert Hicks said in a statement.

Johnson immediately returned fire, officials said. While seeking cover, Johnson fell back injuring his head. Even after sustaining a head injury, Johnson gave chase telling his fellow officers that shots had been fired, according to officials.

Hicks later identified the shooter as 20-year-old Donaven Leon Owens, of Leesburg.

Neither Owens or the officer were shot, according to police.

Johnson was taken to Leesburg Medical Center, where he was treated and released with a concussion, officials said.

Owens fled on foot for a few blocks on U.S. 441 and was captured by other officers. He was taken to the Leesburg Police Department for booking, according to officials.

A judge on Wednesday ruled that Owens will be held without bond on a first-degree murder charge. He also faces charges of aggravated assault with a firearm, using a firearm during a felony, carrying a concealed weapon and resisting an officer.

Officials said Owens has no prior convictions as an adult, but he just completed a juvenile justice program.

The next hearing in his case will be Dec. 30.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement will investigate the shooting which is standard procedure when a law enforcement officer uses his or her weapon.

As of Tuesday night, the department declined to release body camera video, 911 calls or any other records of the officer-involved shooting until investigators can determine if releasing those details will impede the investigation.


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