An 8-year-old boy’s quick thinking likely saved the lives of he and his siblings after their mother was fatally shot during an attempted carjacking earlier this week.
On Wednesday, the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office announced charges against 18-year-old Mark Haywood in the death of local mother Porsha Owens, FOX 2 St. Louis reported. Haywood is charged with second-degree murder, first-degree robbery and two counts of armed criminal action. His bail was set at $1 million, cash only.
According to police, Owens was preparing to take her kids, ages 3-8, to a summer daycare program on Monday when Haywood approached from behind and demanded she hand over her car keys. He then fired two shots at the 28-year-old woman when she refused, mortally wounding her.
Authorities said Haywood wanted the white Dodge Charger spotted outside Owens’ home and waited for whoever owned it. He attacked when he saw the mother-of -three emerge from her residence, they said.
“The children witnessed this, and they watched their mother essentially bleed to death,” said St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch. “You just want to cry when you think about it.”
Haywood tried to steal Owens’ car but fled the scene when he was unable to start it, McCulloh said.
The St. Louis Post Dispatch reported that the only witness account police had was from the slain woman’s 8-year-old son, who instructed his siblings to hide under underneath the car while the attack unfolded. The boy recalled seeing a stranger approach his mother with his shirt pulled over his face before demanding, “Give me your money and your car keys.”
After his mother was shot, the child was able flag down someone for help and remained by her side until help arrived. He made sure his siblings were close by, too. Owens was rushed to a nearby hospital but later died from her injuries, according to the Post-Disptach.
“I’m angry, in disbelief. I’m hurt,” Owens’ mother, Yvette King, told FOX 2 St. Louis. “I am really having a hard time with this. Like I said, I’m more so in disbelief that my daughter is gone … they took my daughter. Somebody took my daughter’s life for something so material that can be replaced.”
The Riverview Gardens School District, where the St. Louis COunty mother worked as a safety officer, is now offering counseling to students and staff after learning of Owens’ tragic death.
“Officer Owens was a treasured member of the RGSD family, who worked diligently to build positive relationships with scholars and staff,” the district said in a social media post.
Funeral services for the late mother were held on Wednesday, the Post-Dispatch reported. A GoFundMe campaign has since been launched for donations to Owens’ three children.
“I hope the little kids overcome this when they have time to reflect on their mother,” Owens grandmother, Fannie Mae King, 70, told the newspaper. “Their mother loved them and did everything with them.”