MTA cop recovering after July 4th attack

Cops investigate the scene outside the Jamaica Long Island Rail Road station after a Metropolitan Transportation Authority officer shot and killed his attacker. Photo by Ellis Kaplan
TimesLedger Newspapers
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like TimesLedger on Facebook.

The MTA police officer who was attacked while patrolling the Jamaica Long Island Rail Road station on the Fourth of July was recovering and scheduled to have a second surgery on his eye this week after being released from Jamaica Hospital Friday, the MTA said.

Officer John Barnett, 45, was standing near a taxi booth on Sutphin Boulevard under the elevated LIRR station around 9:30 a.m. July 4 when 46-year-old Edgar Owens walked out of the station holding a knife at his side, according to authorities.

When Owens approached Barnett with no warning, the officer stepped back and drew his weapon, repeatedly telling the man to drop his knife, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said.

Barnett fired his gun four times, hitting Owens three times in his jaw, chest and hip, officials said.

Both men were rushed to Jamaica Hospital, where Owens was pronounced dead, and Barnett underwent surgery. If the knife had gone in just 1 inch deeper, it would have hit the officer’s brain, the MTA said.

MTA Executive Director Joseph Lhota rushed to the hospital and commended Barnett.

“He confronted a violent person, an individual who posed a threat directly to him and to everyone around the officer. He took action without regard to his personal safety,” he said. “I am absolutely in awe of his bravery.”

Officials said Owens, who lived in the Bronx, had been arrested several times before.

“Owens has a history of confronting police officers without provocation,” Lhota said. “In 2006, he walked into the 26 Precinct house, punched an officer in the face. In 2007, he walked into the 103 Precinct here in Queens and he said he wanted to get arrested and if he didn’t he would punch somebody in the face as well.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo called Barnett at the hospital, and later released a statement praising the officer for his valor.

“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,” Cuomo said. “We applaud Officer Barnett’s bravery and pray for a full recovery.”

Barnett joined the MTA Police Department in 1999 after serving a year with the NYPD, and in that time he had never fired his weapon, the MTA said.

He graduated from SUNY Maritime College and joined the Navy Reserves, serving tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

Updated 6:20 pm, July 11, 2012
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like TimesLedger on Facebook.

Reader feedback

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not TimesLedger.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to TimesLedger.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

Community News Group

Don’t miss out!

Stay in touch with the stories people are talking about in your neighborhood:

Optional: Help us tailor our newsletters to you!