TITUSVILLE, Fla. — The mother of a 29-year-old Titusville man suspected of fatally shooting two women at Parrish Medical Center early Sunday said her son suffers from mental illness and she had no idea how he was able to get a gun.
The woman, who spoke with Channel 9 on the condition of anonymity, said she was devastated upon learning of the slayings.
“My heart goes out to the people who died, my heart really does,” she said. “My heart bleeds for everyone who lost a loved one.”
She said her son, David Owens, began hearing voices after he stopped taking his prescribed medication.
Police said Owens, 29, of Titusville, fatally shot Cynthia Zingsheim, 88, of Titusville, and Carrie Rouzer, 36, of Titusville, shortly after 2 a.m. Sunday.
Zingsheim was a patient at the hospital, and Rouzer was employed at the hospital, officials said.
Rouzer was sitting in Zingsheim’s third-floor room at the time of the shooting, police said.
Photos: David Owens mugshots
Owens' mother said she has spent years seeking long-term mental health care for Owens, even as recently as last week.
“I went there. I told the nurse, I told the doctor. I said, ‘Call CVS. This boy needs mental help. He’s not taking his medicine,’” she said. “They didn't do nothing.”
“He is known to us,” Titusville Police Chief John Lau said. “He does have a criminal history but nothing that would make you think it would get to this degree.”
The hospital’s unarmed security guards were able to tackle Owens and hold him down until police arrived, Lau said.
"The staff executed their protocols as soon as one of the staff members realized what was happening," he said. "The security team responded to those protocols and was able to address the threat and actually attack the threat."
Investigators had not found any information that would indicate Owens knew either victim and the shooting appeared to be a random act, Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey said.
Channel 9 searched through Owens’ lengthy criminal record, which documents relatives’ attempts to have his mental health examined
Court records indicate that of the family's four petitions to have Owens examined, three were filed within a six-month period. The most recent ruling resulted in long-term treatment.
Court documents did not indicate when Owens’ treatment ended.
He was charged with two counts of first-degree murder.
Owens was being held without bond at the Brevard County Jail.