Ex-girlfriend’s mom tells of fear in Owen’s release - Albuquerque Journal

Ex-girlfriend’s mom tells of fear in Owen’s release

About 17 months ago, Lori Spina’s daughter was the apparent primary target of a would-be school shooter. Now that Joshua Owen, the teenager accused of attempting the shooting, has been released, Spina is worried and furious.

“It’s just ridiculous that they let him out,” she said. “You know he’s a danger. How could that be allowed?”

Buses evacuate students from Cleveland High School on Feb. 14, 2019, after a student fired a shot in the school. No injuries were reported. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)

Owen, then 16, was charged with bringing a gun to Cleveland High School on Valentine’s Day 2019 and trying to shoot three classmates. According to police reports, he fled after he had trouble with the gun, and no one was injured.

Police said Owen had a to-do list indicating his intention to find and kill his ex-girlfriend, Spina’s daughter, before killing other people and himself. Eleven months before, his ex-girlfriend had reported his statement that he was hearing voices telling him to shoot up the school.

Last month, he was found still incompetent to stand trial and no residential psychiatric treatment facility in the state would take him. So, due to New Mexico law and his age, a judge dismissed the charges and released Owen with no conditions.

“He has made threats; he has followed through on those threats,” Spina said, adding that she didn’t see how it was just or safe to release Owen.

Spina said the situation is hard on her daughter, now 19, although the young woman tells her mother she’ll be OK.

“She’s 19 now,” Spina said. “I have to let her live her life.”

She said her daughter is cautious, but going to college, working and trying not to think about the possible danger.

The young woman has learned jiu jitsu for self-defense and has a temporary restraining order against Owen. At an upcoming court date, Spina and her daughter will ask the judge to make the restraining order permanent.

“As a parent, it’s like, ‘What can you do?'” Spina said.

She said her daughter knows deep down that she did the right thing by reporting Owen’s threats in 2018, even though she’d initially told him she wouldn’t.

“But this grudge he holds weighs heavily,” Spina said.

She believes the grudge led Owen to try to target her daughter in 2019, and she’s afraid he still carries it.

She doesn’t trust Owen’s parents to see that he gets mental-health treatment. They’re both charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor on accusations that they failed to lock up their gun after being informed of the voices their son said he heard.

The situation isn’t all Owen’s fault, Spina said, because it’s his parents’ job to take care of him.

“He’s a child,” she added.

She would like to see Owen monitored in some way.

“I don’t want to get a gun to protect my family,” Spina said. “That’s what the laws are supposed to do.”

Spina wants laws changed and Owen to be somewhere he can receive treatment so he and others are safe.

N.M. Sen. Craig Brandt, R-Rio Rancho, said a good friend’s child was one of the students Owen threatened with the gun.

“This is something that we’ll need to take a look at during the next session,” said Brandt, a former Rio Rancho Public Schools board member.

State Rep. Jason Harper, R-Rio Rancho, said he was unhappy over Owen’s release and exploring options.

“It doesn’t make sense that there’s essentially nothing that can be done under law,” he said.

Harper has asked the Legislative Council Service to research laws and options to close the gap in the system. Once he has a way forward, he plans to engage with Democrat lawmakers to change the laws.

Home » Rio Rancho Observer » Ex-girlfriend’s mom tells of fear in Owen’s release


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
US Marshals in ABQ shoot, kill fugitive who left ...
ABQnews Seeker
Investigators say man was armed with ... Investigators say man was armed with gun
2
Court filing: Phone seized from Trump lawyer
ABQnews Seeker
John Eastman, who lives in Santa ... John Eastman, who lives in Santa Fe, says contents are privileged, demands return
3
Lujan Grisham issues order aimed at shielding abortion access ...
ABQnews Seeker
Action taken as NM abortion providers ... Action taken as NM abortion providers brace for influx of out-of-state patients
4
Four VA clinics in New Mexico to remain open
ABQnews Seeker
State senators helped bipartisan group end ... State senators helped bipartisan group end the AIR commission
5
Sunday shooting deaths of husband, wife will be investigated ...
ABQnews Seeker
Son had been charged with killing ... Son had been charged with killing father; father suspected of killin
6
More support sought for early childhood education
ABQnews Seeker
Land Grant Permanent fund would be ... Land Grant Permanent fund would be drawn on
7
Rains ease drought, but flooding threats loom
ABQnews Seeker
Some portions of state received over ... Some portions of state received over half their typical average rainfall
8
NM to spend $19M in settlement
From the newspaper
State will make a series of ... State will make a series of investments to improve SNAP program
9
Governor appoints new IT secretary
ABQnews Seeker
New Mexico hoping for broadband expansion ... New Mexico hoping for broadband expansion to rural areas
10
Freedom 4th Celebration is back in ABQ after absence
ABQnews Seeker
Thanks to generous amounts of recent ... Thanks to generous amounts of recent rainfall, the grass is lush and green at Balloon ...