Originally created 03/10/01

Ex-con surrenders after shootout

SAVANNAH - An ex-convict wanted in Monday's slaying of a Richmond Hill woman took two South Carolina women hostage and exchanged gunfire with police before surrendering outside Spartanburg on Thursday afternoon, authorities said.

Anthony Michael Owens, 29, of Midway, who is suspected in the stabbing death of Bonny Carroll, 36, faces two counts of aggravated assault against two Liberty County women and a charge of assault with intent to kill in South Carolina, among other charges.

Mr. Owens kidnapped a Santee, S.C., real estate agent Tuesday and later kidnapped two other women in Laurens County, S.C., authorities said.

Mr. Owens entered a Family Dollar store and asked a sheriff's detective for directions to a hotel.

The officer grew suspicious and saw one of the women attack Mr. Owens. The others joined in. Mr. Owens fired his gun, wounding one of the women in the hand, officials said.

Then he fired at the officer but missed. He fled with the officer in pursuit, leaving the women behind.

A car chase followed, and Mr. Owens lost control of his car, crossing the median into oncoming traffic. Spartanburg County Sheriff Bill Coffey said Mr. Owens fired at passing cars as the detective pulled up and took cover behind his car.

Mr. Owens got out and held a gun to his own chest as deputies and police units arrived on the scene. Deputies blocked Highway 585 in both directions while they tried to coax Mr. Owens to surrender.

During the 20-minute standoff, he cut his arm, took some pills and drank alcohol. After burning some clothing and other items he took from the back seat of the vehicle, Mr. Owens put his gun in the trunk of his car and laid down in the road, surrendering to deputies about 12:20 p.m.

Authorities said one of Mr. Owens' hostages, 52-year-old real estate agent Reba Ostner, had been missing since Tuesday night in Santee, which is between Columbia and Charleston off Interstate 95.

Authorities later found the car of a woman Mr. Owens allegedly abducted in Liberty County outside Ms. Ostner's real estate office in Santee, and Ms. Ostner's car was missing.

Ms. Ostner called co-workers at the office shortly after she was freed Thursday to say she was unhurt, manager Scott Clark said.

"Reba is a very street savvy, feisty person," Mr. Clark said. "That mental being and her will is probably what saved her life."

Ms. Ostner was scheduled to show Mr. Owens some property on Lake Marion on Tuesday afternoon. She was reported missing Wednesday after she did not show up for work.

Orangeburg County Sheriff Larry Williams said Ms. Ostner's credit card was used to get cash in Lexington County on Wednesday morning.

That same day, Ms. Ostner called a family member from a Columbia hotel and said she would be away from the office. She did not mention being in danger, Sheriff Williams said.

"I haven't slept much in the past few days," Mr. Clark said. "As far as we can tell, this was the best result we could get."

Mr. Owens was taken to Spartanburg Regional Medical Center for treatment.

The Spartanburg Herald-Journal and The Associated Press contributed to this article.


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