UPDATE 4:15pm: Clusterstock’s reporter Julia La Roche found Owen’s FINRA records which shows he was unemployed before the Bank Street Group job
Bank Street Group response is at the end of the story.
UPDATE 9-26-12:NCPD says the person who called 911 to report shots fired was none other than James Owen. So this Wall Streeter shot his wife, then called to report it from his cell phone, then shot himself in the head.
The New Canaan man who shot his wife and then killed himself with a gun shot on Friday was a seasoned Wall Streeter. James D. Owen, 48, worked for years at Stamford-based The Bank Street Group doing merger and acquisition and mid-marketing financing for the wireless/satellite space.
Bank Street Group is made up of a lot of ex Bear Stearns guys and apparently has a flow of people coming and going from the firm. James Owen’s photo and director title was taken off the company’s website sometime after June and his name is no longer in the company phone directory. You can see the 15 person team here in a google cache; the company’s website shows the firm has been reduced to eight. An other New Canaan resident Peter P. Buckley, who was a managing director at Bank Street, confirmed for me today that James was still working there in April when he left the company and didn’t know if he’d been fired or quit or just removed from the website.
When Buckley was asked if he was surprised Owen had been involved in a murder/suicide he said, “You never like to hear something like that.” Buckley, who works in the PIPE financing space, said he didn’t know if Owen had financial troubles and never worked on deals with him because they worked in different sectors.
Owen’s bio at Bank Street Group says he left Bank of America Securities were he led a group focusing on the Wireless Telecom space for the job at Bank Street. He’d also worked on telecom M&A at Lehman Brothers were he held a low-level Vice President title and at Bear Stearns. He got his undergrad business degree from University of Louisiana where some public records show his wife, Billie, is from. Owen also had an M.B.A in finance and corporate accounting from the University of Rochester.
Emails to Bank Street Group senior managing director James Henry asking if James was fired or left on his own accord went unanswered. I found no bankruptcy filings for Owen in CT state or federal court. The New Canaan police haven’t told the public if there was a note left or if a motive could be identified.
The New Canaan Patch reported a store owner across the street from Owen’s residence on Park Street speculating she thought the killings were motivated by financial distress but also states she didn’t know the couple so that was pretty much a useless quote the Patch reported. No other media outlets have figured out where James Owen worked yet but the New Canaan Advertiser was first to report the couples name Friday night before the New Canaan police released it Saturday afternoon. The wife’s family isn’t commenting on the murder and I could not reach members of James Owen family.
Murder-Suicide is pretty rare in this wealthy town packed with people who work in high-finance and now we’ve got a crime without an identified motive. If you ever worked with James Owen I’d love to hear from you.
UPDATE 9-24-12 1:50pm: Bank Street Group has finally responded to my emails. Richard Lukaj says, “We are shocked and deeply sadden by this tragedy.” He then confirmed what the FINRA records showed, Owen started with their firm in 2005. He also said Owen was still employed at the time of his death and they took his photo off the company website when they learned he was dead.
Well if that’s true then these guys moved fast to try to avoid bad PR. They also won’t answer questions if Owen was on Garden leave or even at work Friday morning (the shooting happen at around 4pm Friday). What’s odd is Peter Buckley’s photo and managing director title was left on their website for a few months after he left in April (which you can see in the google cache) but before the NCPD announce Owen’s name they have his photo taken down? The firm also made a statement “we ask that everyone please respect the privacy requested by the affected people during this most difficult time.”
Really now? When journalist get PR statements like that something doesn’t smell right and when you kill your wife and then your self you’ve just made your family part of the news cycle and lost any notion of privacy.
Net-Net we still are left without a motive.