ST. LOUIS (AP) - Two St. Louis men are cleared of criminal wrongdoing, thanks to their tenacious mother and surveillance video.
Meanwhile, the man who told police that the brothers tried to rob him last summer is now charged as the real culprit.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that 29-year-old Patrick John Owens was charged Wednesday with robbery, assault and other crimes. He is jailed on $250,000 bond.
Owens told police that 23-year-old Jerry Tate and 25-year-old Christopher Tate approached his parked car around 3:15 a.m. Aug. 26 and started a fight. Police initially believed Owens.
The mother of the suspects insisted on finding surveillance video from the area. Court documents say the video cleared the Tates and showed that Owens tried to rob them before shooting Christopher Tate, injuring his hand and face.
“At least the truth is out,” Jerry Tate said.
The brothers are upset that it took police almost six months to charge Owens. They believe race was a factor. The brothers are black and Owens is white.
Owens initially told police the Tate brothers punched and kicked him until he grabbed his gun and fired at the attackers, who ran off. Owens said he somehow lost his gun in the encounter.
Arriving officers spotted two men running. Police said one of the men hid a gun in a flower pot before stopping to talk to police. The other had gunshot wounds and was taken to a hospital for treatment.
The gun found in the flower pot turned out to belong to Owens. Charging documents initially accused the brothers of taking the gun from their attacker.
The Tates said they hid the weapon as they ran in search of help because they feared that in the commotion the gun could make them a target.
Court documents filed Wednesday back up their version of the incident. The documents say what happened, based on surveillance video and what the brothers said, was this: The brothers were getting out of a pickup when Owens approached and asked for a ride. He allegedly pulled a gun and said, “Give me your wallet.”
A struggle began and Owens fired a shot that struck Christopher Tate in the hand and then his face.
“I was on top of him when he shot me,” Christopher Tate said. “When he fired the gun the bullet hit the bone in my hand. It went through my right jaw. If I had not put my hand out it probably would have blown my entire face off.”
Jerry Tate said the brothers tried to tell their story to officers on bikes, but “they didn’t listen to us at all.”
A detective said in court documents that it is now clear that the Tates “were telling the truth and that the defendant was lying to officers about what happened.”
Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com
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