CLEVELAND, Ohio – Joseph Owens cared for his ailing mother who survived stage 4 breast cancer and other health problems for years, and gave her constant emotional support as she tried to learn to walk again.
A week before Owen’s death, his mother took the first step in half a decade.
Owens, 34, died on August 22 after a group shot him dead in a series of events, including police misconduct. Owens was fatally shot and killed for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, according to prosecutors.
“Getting shot like that was unreal,” said his mother, Brenda Owens.
Joseph Owens grew up with six brothers and sisters in the Collinwood neighborhood. His parents adopted him when he was 18 months old, Brenda Owens said.
Owens sometimes struggled in school, played drums in church as a kid, and ended up in a rough crowd as a teenager. In his youth he was convicted of several drug crimes.
Brenda Owens said after his last conviction in 2013 that he stopped selling drugs and smoking marijuana. He got a job in a factory on East 222nd Street and loved dressing up nicely with just designer clothes, his mother said.
His mother said he loved his nieces and nephews and his 9-year-old godson.
“They all looked up at him,” said Brenda Owens. “Everyone loved him. He loved to joke. “
In 2016, Brenda Owens said her health had failed. She has been diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer, heart failure, and obesity. She couldn’t move and was bedridden. She needed home health workers to look after her, but her son, whom she called Jerome by his middle name, helped look after her.
Brenda Owens said she needed sponge baths because she couldn’t go to the bathroom. Her son never hesitated to help.
“I said if you can’t, you don’t have to,” said Brenda Owens. “He would say no, you are my mother. I want you to be clean and he gave me a bed bath. “
Brenda Owens said her son had become one of her greatest cheerleaders on her long road to recovery. He told her she was walking and jumping up and down again when she received news on his birthday last year that his mother’s cancer was in remission.
“What a birthday present,” he told his mother.
Joseph Owens concentrated on helping his mother walk again. He encouraged her and helped her with physical therapy. He often told his mother that he thought she would go again.
Shortly after she took her first step, her son was killed by a group seeking revenge but eventually killing Owens, who had nothing to do with the incident that led to the shooting.
Six hours before Owens died, a fight broke out in a house on East 149th Street in the North Shore-Collinwood neighborhood.
One woman, Megan Turner, got into an argument with a man and deliberately crashed her car into the man’s car, according to police and prosecutors. The man hit the woman at least 27 times, pulled her out of the car, and kept beating her. The man left the area and the woman stayed behind.
Officers Harvey Andrekovic and Jason Rees showed up until the crash. Witnesses told police that the Turner crashed into the man’s car and Turner was beaten.
Turner later returned to the scene and told Andrekovic she wanted to report an attack. The officers never wrote an attack report or investigated the beatings.
They also failed to arrest Turner, who was eventually charged with aggravated assault. The officers’ report listed Turner as a suspect despite staying at the scene.
The two officers were charged on January 22nd on charges of negligence, interference with civil rights and obstruction of official business following a police investigation. You have pleaded not guilty.
According to court records, the two officers did not prevent a crime.
Turner later returned to the area with her 16-year-old son, 19-year-old daughter, and 43-year-old friend. Several people in the group got out of their car and opened fire, killing Owens, prosecutors said.
All four face grave murder charges and have pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Owens had nothing to do with the earlier incident, prosecutors said. Brenda Owens said her son took his girlfriend’s car that morning to get an oil change and drove to the neighborhood he grew up in to visit a friend.
Brenda Owens said she was unaware of the allegations of misconduct by officials that resulted in her son’s death.
Joseph Owen’s death shook his family members. One of his brothers began to drink heavily and lost so much weight that he went from a 4XL size to an extra large. He has since stopped drinking, Brenda Owens said.
Joseph Owens’ 70-year-old father struggled one day while he was taking care of his wife, yelling that he needed his son’s help.
“There are a few days when I know I need help and I am very upset because I need my son,” said Brenda Owens. “I really miss him.”
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