Governor Fails To Honor Slain Deputy, Widow Sends Message

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The grieving widow of a deputy killed in the line of duty took matters into her own hands after the Democrat governor failed to honor her husband’s sacrifice. The fed-up widow sent the governor a message that caused political backlash he’ll likely never forget.

Deputy Josh Owen
Sharon Owen (center) holds a photo of her slain husband Deputy Josh Owen at a press conference (Credit: Screenshot)

When a law enforcement officer is killed in the line of duty, there should be no politics involved in honoring their sacrifice. Sadly, some elected officials don’t do the right thing. That’s exactly what happened when Deputy Josh Owen was slain on April 15, 2023. His grieving widow was faced with navigating the political landscape in the state of Minnesota.

Deputy Josh Owen of the Pope County Sheriff’s Office and some of his colleagues responded to a call about a possible domestic assault in Cyrus, Minnesota, a small town in a rural area about two and a half hours west of Minneapolis. Unfortunately, Deputy Owen was struck three times by the suspect and died from his injuries at a local hospital. It was the day of his 44th birthday.

Deputy Josh Owen
Deputy Josh Owen (Credit: Facebook)

Owen was survived by his wife, Sharon, and their 10-year-old son, Ryland. It is customary for the governor to order all of the flags to fly half-staff when an officer is killed in the line of duty. However, that’s not what happened this time. Minnesota Governor Tim Walz had not called for flags at state buildings to be lowered to half-staff in honor of Deputy Owen. In essence, this was seen as a slap in the face to all law enforcement officers.

In contrast, Walz immediately called for the lowering of flags to honor the victims of the shooting at the Covenant School in Nashville just weeks earlier, The Blaze reported. Those facts didn’t escape Sharon Owens or other family members of those in law enforcement. “I am absolutely disgusted,” said one officer’s wife who rallied people to contact their state house and senate representatives.

Deputy Josh Owen’s patrol vehicle (Credit: Screenshot)

The pressure mounted as numerous calls were made to the governor and other Minnesota politicians. After the backlash about honoring Deputy Owen reached the governor, Walz stated that flags at state buildings would be lowered from sunrise to sunset on Saturday, the day of  Owen’s funeral. Honoring the deputy for only 24 hours was seen as another slap in the face.

Walz called the deputy’s widow to express his condolences. That’s when Sharon Owen dropped a bomb on the governor. She told him he would not be welcome at her husband’s funeral. At that point, the Democrat governor “changed his mind” again and determined that flags would be lowered immediately and kept at half-mast until sunset on Saturday.

Deputy Josh Owen
Deputy Josh Owen’s casket was pulled by an honor guard to his final resting place. (Credit: YouTube)

Walz then invited private businesses and residents to lower their flags as well. However, the widow wasn’t impressed. “He does not support law enforcement,” she said. It’s highly unusual for a state representative not to attend this type of official funeral. However, the governor confirmed he would “honor the family’s wishes.”

Sharon Owen has spoken publicly about her broken heart and expressed gratitude to the public, which has offered her family tremendous support since Josh’s untimely death. “I want to start by thanking everyone who has come out and supported Ryland and me over the past few days,” she said in a statement read by Josh’s cousin Josh Palmateer.

“While it has been a whirlwind since that night he did not come home, I found a few quiet moments, to say I’m sad doesn’t even come close to those moments,” the widow’s statement read as she held a picture of her husband. “Maybe more than that I’m angry. I’m angry this happened. I’m angry that this beautiful life was cut short. I’m angry that my son’s father was taken from him far too soon. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Still, I feel I must be strong. For our son, for myself, and for our community. Losing Josh will never go away, ever.”

“I’ve never received this much support for anything. This community is helping me in the moments where, very simply, I don’t know what to do,” Sharon Owen added. “Pray for the safety of our deputies and police. Continue to share Josh’s story with each other. Share his legacy. In this way, we can help his spirit last forever.”