The officers were responding to a 911 call from Daniel McDowell, who claimed that he had murdered a hitchhiker and was holding another hostage early on February 16. All three fired when McDowell started walking from his truck toward them, pointed a shotgun in their direction and ignored commands to drop the weapon.
A later lab analysis determined McDowell’s blood-alcohol concentration to have been 0.2 percent, or more than twice the legal limit for driving. A suicide note and a handwritten ":last will and testament": were found in his truck.
Rowe says the investigation indicated that the three officers believed that their lives were threatened and that they believed deadly force was necessary to protect themselves. McDowell died from a single gunshot wound to the chest.