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'Both sides are traumatized': Family of man accused of murdering woman in front of kids speaks out

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Mark Haywood is accused of killing Porsha Ownens (Credit: St. Louis County Police) Mark Haywood is accused of killing Porsha Ownens (Credit: St. Louis County Police)

ST. LOUIS COUNTY (KMOV.com) – An 18-year-old is facing charges after a 28-year-old school safety officer was shot and killed in front of her children Monday.

Around 7:15 a.m. Monday, police were called to the 10200 block of Lord for a shooting. When officers arrived, Porsha Owens was found with at least one gunshot wound. She was transported to a local hospital in critical condition but later died of her injuries.

Wednesday, prosecutors charged Mark Haywood with second-degree murder, first-degree robbery and two counts of armed criminal action in relation to Owens’ death.

The probable cause statement said Owens was with her three children when Haywood came from behind the car and announced a robbery, then shot her. Police said Haywood ran from the scene after taking Owens' property. 

The suspect admitted to the crime, according to court documents. 

Family members said police came to their house to question Haywood on Tuesday and found Owens' purse in the house.

“Our family, we wouldn’t condone nobody killing nobody,” one of Haywood's family members told News 4.

Haywood's family members said he was troubled and had been in and out of juvenile facilities since he was 10. A relative said he couldn't believe what Haywood is accused of doing.

"Both sides are traumatized. We lost him but our condolences still go to her because as a parent or a mother you know that hurt to see someone get killed in front of their kids," the relative said. 

Owens worked in the Riverview Gardens School District as a safety officer. Co-workers said she was a good role model for students.

“She had a very social attitude, was very caring, inquisitive. She wanted to be better in life and wanted to see others around her do better,” said Warren Newton, the Director of Safety and Security at the Riverview Gardens School District.

Owens had been assigned to work at the middle school for the summer.

The district is making therapists, counselors and social workers available to students and staff.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help her family. To donate, click here.

Haywood is being housed at the St. Louis County jail. He’s being held on a $1 million cash-only bond.

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