Joshua J. Owen helped to rescue a woman and a baby from assault in Shawnee, Kan., on Sept. 11, 2016.
In a store parking lot in the afternoon, two assailants ambushed the 39-year-old woman at her car after she placed her 8-month-old son inside. The woman suffered blows to her head, including from a handgun; she got free and screamed for help.
Parked about 100 feet away, Owen, 33, construction worker of Kansas City, Mo., responded to the woman, who was bloodied. She pointed out to Owen one assailant, who by then was in the driver’s seat of the van beside her car. Owen concluded that he needed to protect the woman from him.
That assailant, who greatly outweighed Owen, exited the van on the passenger side, where Owen punched and tackled him. The assailant returned to his feet and shot Owen in the face with the handgun. Owen continued to tussle with the assailant, taking him to the ground a second time. While Owen was on top of him, the assailant shot him twice more in the left forearm and shoulder. Owen rolled a few feet away.
A bystander then fatally shot that assailant; the other had fled the scene but later was arrested. The woman, who recovered her son and went to safety inside the store, was hospitalized for head injuries. Owen underwent surgery to reconstruct his face during his five-day hospitalization. Two months later, doctors removed the bullet from his shoulder. Owen did not resume work fully for about six months.