An emotionally disturbed man stabbed a member of MTA Police in the eye before the officer returned fire, killing the suspect, MTA officials said.
While Officer John Barnett was patrolling Jamaica Station on July 4, a 46-year-old Edgar Owens exited the station and walked up to Barnett who was standing by a taxi outside the station.
Owen was carrying a knife at his side, and when he got within reach of Barnett, he stabbed him in the face, “without warning or provocation,” according to MTA officials.
While bleeding, Barnett stepped back from the suspect, drew his gun and ordered him to drop his knife.
Witnesses said Owens only came closer though—hanging onto the weapon.
Barnett then fired four shots at the suspect, hitting him in the jaw, chest and hip—killing him.
Owens was transported to Jamaica Hospital and pronounced dead.
Barnett, too, was taken to Jamaica Hospital where he underwent emergency surgery.
“The entire MTA family is praying for Officer Barnett to make a full recovery,” said MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota in a statement shortly after the attack. “He did exactly what we expect of all of our officers: In a split second, confronted with a violent individual who posed a threat to everyone around him, he took action without regard to his personal safety. We are all in awe of his bravery.”
The MTA also stated that Owens has attacked police officers in the past for no reason.
According to a statement from the authority, Owens walked into a 26th Precinct in Manhattan and punched an officer in the face in 2006.
In 2007, he reportedly walked into the 103rd Precinct in Jamaica and said he wanted to get arrested and would punch someone if need be.
According to the MTA, Barnett had never fired his weapon on duty before—despite being an almost 13-year veteran.
He joined the MTA Police Department in 1999 after working as part of the NYPD.
He also served in the Navy Reserves where he did tours of Iraq and Afghanistan.
He has a 12-year-old son and lives with him in Suffolk County.
“ I spoke with Officer Barnett prior to him going in to surgery and thanked him on behalf of all New Yorkers for his courage,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. “Today we are reminded once again of the bravery and sacrifice of our men and women in law enforcement, and the many dangers that accompany the important job of keeping our state’s residents safe. We applaud Officer Barnett’s bravery and pray for a full recovery.”
Barnett left the hospital in good spirits last Thursday, one day after being stabbed, although it’s uncllear if he will fully recover from the damage to his eye.
By Jeremiah Dobruck