Last summer, a white man told police two Black men attempted to rob him at gunpoint. It turns out it was the white man who attempted the armed robbery — but it took police six months to watch the surveillance footage that told the real story.
Patrick John Owens, 29, told authorities last August that Christopher and Jerry Tate, 25 and 23, approached him and tried to rob him in St. Louis. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported at the time that the brothers kicked and punched Owens, who said he fired his gun in self-defense. The bullet hit Christopher Tate, going through his hand and then his jaw. Police later saw one of the Tate brothers hiding the firearm in a flowerpot.
According to Jerry Tate, the brothers tried to tell police officers on bikes what had happened, but “they didn’t listen to us at all,” he told the Post-Dispatch.
Christopher Tate was treated at a hospital. Both Jerry Tate and Owens were arrested. Jerry Tate was released without charges as officers investigated, and Owens was released pending charges.
This week, the truth — and charges — came out. Owens has been charged with attempted robbery, armed criminal action, second-degree assault and making a false report. The first three are felony charges.
The real story, according to court documents, is that Owens approached the brothers at around 3:15 am on the street when the brothers were exiting a pickup truck. Owens asked the brothers for a ride then pulled out his weapon and said, “Give me your wallet!”
A struggle ensued and Owens fired his weapon, striking Christopher Tate. The Tates eventually obtained Owens’ firearm.
“The Tates said Wednesday that 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,” the Post-Dispatch reported.
“I was on top of him when he shot me,” Christopher Tate told the Post-Dispatch. “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.”
According to the brothers, it is thanks to the persistence of their mother that the video footage was viewed.
“My mother kept telling them that there was video all through that area,” Jerry Tate said.
The Tate brothers are happy that justice is (finally) being served but are disappointed that the evidence has been there for six months and was only reviewed now. They are also upset that Owens has not been taken into custody. And they believe that race played a role in the ordeal.
“I believe [the police] listened to [Owens] because he was white,” Christopher Tate told the Post-Dispatch.
Christopher Tate also told the publication that before his name was cleared his boss did not believe his story.
“He asked me, ‘Why did the paper say you robbed someone and that’s how you got shot'” he recalled. “He said ‘If it wasn’t true the paper wouldn’t have said it.'”