A teenage burglary suspect dies in police custody

By Katie Herrera

HOMEWOOD, AL (WBRC) - An early Sunday morning arrest in Homewood turned deadly for one teen suspect. It started when investigators say three suspects were breaking into cars at Herzing University.
Homewood Police say William Owens, 17, was arrested around one in the morning for breaking into cars, then died sometime after that while in police custody. Police have not said when or how he died, but mentioned an officer had tazed him.
Friends and family of Owens gathered Sunday, mourning the loss of a loved one.  "He was my favorite cousin. He was like a brother to me," recalled Erica Owens, William's cousin.

Zaki Hood, a 12-year-old cousin of Owens, says he was with the suspects breaking into cars. Hood said the last time he saw William, he was alive. "Last time I saw him, he was on the ground screaming," explained Hood.

Now the family is asking for answers, but says the police are not giving them any. "Two detectives came out and said that he had died and that's all the information they could give us. They wouldn't say what happened, how it happened. They just said that he was dead and she [William's mother] was not allowed to see him today," said Victoria Owens, William's aunt. "We want to know why we can't see him. Why can't we speak to somebody? Why can't somebody tell us what happened to him?"

Homewood Police said one officer is on paid administrative leave while the Alabama Bureau of Investigation looks into the possible use of excessive force. The Jefferson County Coroner's Office is investigating the cause of death.

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