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Erbie Lee BOWSER





Classification: Mass murderer
Characteristics: Shooting rampage
Number of victims: 4
Date of murders: August 7, 2013
Date of arrest: Same day
Date of birth: 1964
Victims profile: Zina Bowser, 47 (his estranged wife) and her daughter Neima Williams, 28 / Toya Smith, 43 (his girlfriend) and her daughter, Tasmia Allen, 17
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Dallas/DeSoto, Dallas County, Texas, USA
Status: Charged with capital murder. Currently in prison awaiting trial

photo gallery


Police: Texas gunman who killed 4 used grenade

Erbie Bowser, 44, has been charged with capital murder for the attacks that left 4 people dead

Associated Press

August 16, 2013

DESOTO, Texas — Investigators have confirmed that a former special education teacher accused of killing four people in a pair of shootings used a grenade in one of the attacks, police in a Dallas suburb said.

Erbie Bowser, 44, has been charged with capital murder in the late-night attacks Aug. 7.

Bowser detonated a grenade inside his estranged wife's house and was arrested after running out of ammunition, according to search warrant affidavits released Thursday by DeSoto police. Police found a grenade pin and fragments inside her home, along with bullets and shell casings, according to the affidavits.

Investigators have said the explosion injured no one, but Bowser shot and killed Zina Bowser, his 47-year-old estranged wife, and her 28-year-old daughter, Neima Williams. Two boys, ages 11 and 13, were wounded.

The attack in DeSoto happened about 15 minutes after one in southwestern Dallas in which, according to Dallas police, Bowser killed Toya Smith, his 43-year-old girlfriend, and her 17-year-old daughter, Tasmia Allen. Smith's 14-year-old son and a 17-year-old family friend were wounded, police said.

The affidavits show ammunition and gun-related accessories were found in the suspect's car.

Police did not return phone calls seeking comment Thursday.

Erbie and Zina Bowser had begun divorce proceedings in 2011, when court documents show Erbie Bowser made threats against Zina, telling her that if she tried to take any of their belongings, "I will bury you." Zina Bowser said he took a pocketknife from a drawer, opened it and said, "Call the police and I will execute your kids," documents show.

After that, a Dallas judge granted a protective order, banning Erbie Bowser from coming within 200 yards of his estranged wife and her children. The judge wrote in his report: "Family violence has occurred and is likely to occur in the future."


Suspect in Dallas quadruple slaying leaves hospital, meets with attorneys

By Jennifer Emily and Tanya Eiserer -

August 12, 2013

A grenade-wielding Army veteran accused of killing two mothers and their daughters has met with his attorneys after he was transferred over the weekend from a hospital to the Dallas County Jail.

Erbie Lee Bowser, 44, is being held on three counts of capital murder and two counts of aggravated assault in connection with Wednesday night’s rampage. Bail is set at $6.5 million.

One of his attorneys, Brad Lollar, said Monday that he met with Bowser on Sunday by himself and again on Monday with other attorneys.

Lollar said Bowser, who had reportedly been sedated, was not sedated during their meetings.

“He is able to talk with us,” Lollar said. He declined to say what Bowser said.

Authorities say Bowser first went to the southwest Dallas home of his former girlfriend, Toya Smith, 43.

There, officials say, he shot and killed Smith and her 17-year-old daughter Tasmia Allen.

Smith’s 14-year-old son, Storm Malone, and a 17-year-old family friend, Dasmine Mitchell, were wounded.

Bowser then drove 7 miles to the DeSoto home of his 47-year-old estranged wife, Zina Bowser.

Police say he broke down the back door and tossed in a hand grenade before fatally shooting Zina Bowser and her daughter, Neima Williams, 28.

Zina Bowser’s two young boys were also wounded by gunfire before authorities say Erbie Bowser apparently ran out of bullets.

Her 13-year-old son was able to call police.

Authorities say Bowser initially pretended to be one of the victims, but Zina Bowser’s younger son identified him as the gunman.

Lollar said Monday that he and other attorneys are just beginning the process of defending Bowser.

He said Bowser signed a waiver allowing his attorneys access to his medical records from the VA.

“We’re just starting, obviously. We’ve got a long way to go,” Lollar said. “Nothing is going to happen quickly.”

Lollar said that attorneys will await a decision by the district attorney’s office about whether prosecutors seek the death penalty. Bowser has been charged but not indicted.

“We haven’t heard,” Lollar said. “Sometimes it takes them months to make the decision.”

Zina Bowser’s sons remain in the hospital but relatives say they continue to improve. Dasmine Mitchell and Storm Malone are also recovering. The Storm Malone Recovery Fund has been established at Wells Fargo.

A funeral service for Toya Smith and Tasmia Allen has been scheduled for noon Saturday at New Birth Baptist Church, 444 W. Ledbetter Drive in Dallas.

The service for Zina Bowser and Neima Williams is scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday at Community Missionary Baptist Church, 115 W. Belt Line Road in DeSoto.


Dallas shooting spree kills 4; former Mavericks dancer charged

Friday, August 09, 2013

(DESOTO, Texas) -- A former teacher and Dallas Mavericks hip-hop dancer was charged with capital murder Thursday after police said he attacked the homes of his estranged wife and his girlfriend, killing the women and two of their children and wounding four other people.

Erbie Lee Bowser, 44, was arrested late Wednesday following the second attack in the Dallas suburb of DeSoto, during which police say he fatally shot his estranged wife Zina Bowser, 47, and her daughter Neima Williams, 28. He also shot and wounded two boys there, ages 11 and 13, who were in critical condition Thursday, DeSoto police Cpl. Melissa Franks said.

Bowser was charged Thursday with two counts of capital murder in that attack, which happened about 15 minutes after an attack in southwest Dallas, about 10 miles away. Dallas police said they were expecting to file two capital murder counts against Bowser in that attack.

Police called to the Dallas home at about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday found four people who had been shot, including Bowser's girlfriend Toya Smith, 43, and her daughter Tasmia Allen, 17, who were killed, Dallas police Maj. Jeff Cotner said. Smith's 14-year-old son and a 17-year-old family friend were wounded, he said.

Smith's mother, Lurlean Smith, walked in on the bloody scene after going to the home because she had received a disturbing phone call from her daughter. She said the lights were on but no one answered the door. Near a window, she heard what she thought was someone gasping for breath. Once inside, her granddaughter's wounded friend fell into her arms.

"She fell in my arms and she was bleeding and I moved her back to the sofa and that's when I saw my grandbaby there," said Smith, who said her granddaughter had been shot in the head.

She said there apparently had been a struggle. "He tore that whole wall out, evidently he was throwing them. I don't know what he was doing," Smith said.

She said she had been warning her daughter for two years to stay away from Bowser, saying, "He's controlling. He thinks he can control women, but he did, he controlled my daughter. And it caused my baby's death."

After that attack, Bowser went to the DeSoto home of his 47-year-old estranged wife Zina Bowser and fatally shot her and her daughter, 28-year-old Neima Williams, Franks said. He also shot and wounded two boys there, ages 11 and 13, who were in critical condition Thursday, she said.

Russ Morrison, a spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said Bowser set off an explosive device in the DeSoto home, but Franks said it didn't harm anyone.

Police took Bowser to a hospital to be examined, and Franks said detectives have found him difficult to interview.

"He does lapse into periods where he sits there quietly or wants to lay down or doesn't want to speak," she said.

In a statement, JPS Health Network in Fort Worth said Zina Bowser served as a nurse practitioner in their employee health clinic. "She touched the lives of many and she will be greatly missed," the statement said.

Tommy Johnson, who lives in the DeSoto neighborhood, said he heard a loud boom coming from the direction of the home where the victims were later found.

"We thought it was coming from upstairs, because the kids are always upstairs making noise," Johnson said. "I went up and asked, 'Did you hear anything?' and one of my daughters said it came from outside. So I peeped out the front and that's when I saw a bunch of officers walking down the sidewalk and about 10 houses up."

Carolyn Webb, a friend of the DeSoto victims, said Zina Bowser was in the process of divorcing her estranged husband. "He just tore so many hearts," Webb said.

Zina Bowser obtained a protective order in February 2011 after an associate judge reported that "family violence has occurred and is likely to occur in the future." It barred her husband from coming within 200 yards of her and her children and from communicating with the children. He later was arrested for violating the order.

In seeking the order, Zina Bowser said her husband had threatened the lives of her and her sons after she asked for a separation. According to her, Erbie Bowser told her that if she tried to take any of their belongings, "I will bury you." She said he took a pocketknife from a drawer, opened it and said, "Call the police and I will execute your kids."

She called 911 anyway and fled with her sons, and Erbie Bowser was arrested.

Bowser is 6-foot-7-inches tall and weighs 355 pounds, according to court records. He was a defensive tackle on the Texas Christian University Horned Frogs from 1987-89, and played in three games, a school spokeswoman said.

The Dallas Mavericks said Thursday that Bowser performed from 2002 to 2009 with its Dallas Mavs ManiAACs, which the NBA team describes as dance troupe made up of "beefy men" who entertain fans during games.

Bowser worked for nearly a decade as a special education teacher in the Dallas suburb of Mesquite. School district spokeswoman Laura Jobe said Thursday he resigned in 2010 "on good terms." He also worked for a couple of seasons as a football coach at West Mesquite High School, she said.

Bowser served as a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army from October 1991 to November 2000. The U.S. Army media relations department said he served in the infantry at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii and at Fort Drum in New York. He was never deployed overseas. The Army said it does not release information about whether a soldier is honorably or dishonorably discharged.


Police searching for more explosives, weapons at Dallas home where deadly shooting spree began

By Tasha Tsiaperas -

August 8, 2013

Police obtained a warrant this evening to search for more explosives at the Dallas home where a man is accused of launching a deadly shooting rampage one day earlier, according to court documents.

Authorities say Erbie Bowser, 44, wielded a grenade as he shot people at homes in Dallas and DeSoto late Wednesday, killing four people and wounding four others.

Authorities say it appears he was trying to kill a former girlfriend and his estranged wife, who lived at the house in DeSoto where police say the second attack occurred. She had filed for divorce in January 2011, but the case is still pending.

According to a search warrant affidavit, police need to re-enter the home in the 7100 block of Long Canyon Trail “to determine if there are any other explosive devices.”

Specifically, investigators are looking for “ignitable, flammable, explosive and/or combustible substance(s).”

They’re also looking for possible weapons, ammunition or any other devices used to “ignite, boost, accelerate, fuel, sustain and/or facilitate a fire and/or explosion,” the affidavit said.

Bowser has been charged with two counts of capital murder in DeSoto. Dallas police are preparing two counts of capital murder charges as well, said Maj. Jeff Cotner of Dallas PD’s Crimes Against Persons Division.

Bowser has “said very little” since he was arrested, DeSoto police spokeswoman Cpl. Melissa Franks said.

“I don’t know that he is in a state right now where he can be cooperative or uncooperative,” she said.

“I just know that he does lapse into periods where he just sits there quietly, or wants to lay down, or doesn’t want to speak,” Franks said.

Bowser was taken to Parkland Memorial Hospital for a physical and emotional evaluation earlier in the day.

Officials say the rampage began about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday in Dallas at a home in the 7100 block of Long Canyon Trail, near West Wheatland Road and Mountain Creek Parkway. He killed two women and wounded two others there, police said.

Bowser’s girlfriend, 43-year-old Toya Smith, and her 17-year-old daughter, Tasmia Allen, died at the scene, according to Dallas police reports. Two others, Smith’s 14-year-old son and Dasmine Mitchell, a 17-year-old family friend, were taken to a local hospital, according to police reports. Dasmine underwent surgery and has been questioned by police. The boy remains in critical condition.

Dallas police Maj. Jeff Cotner said Smith had been talking to her mother earlier in the night, and the substance of that conversation worried the older woman. She called back later but couldn’t get through to anyone at the home.

Cotner said Smith and Bowser were dating, but police don’t know for how long.

When the mother went to the Long Canyon home, she and a family member found the victims and called 911, Cotner said. Lurlean Smith told WFAA-TV (Channel 8) that she did not get an answer when she knocked. She said she and her grandchild went to a window of the home and could hear what sounded like someone gasping for air.

Reached briefly by phone this morning, an obviously distraught Smith told The Dallas Morning News that she did not know why anyone would want to shoot her loved ones. She was too upset to discuss the case further, however.

“This is not the time, this is not the time, ” she said tearfully, before quietly hanging up the phone.

Police believe Bowser then went to the home of his estranged wife, Zina Bowser, in the 100 block of Galleria Drive in DeSoto, where he threw a hand grenade into the living room before shooting and killing her and a second woman, 28-year-old Neima Williams, police said. He also wounded two boys, ages 11 and 13, before he ran out of bullets, according to police. Those boys remain in critical condition.

The explosion “blew out the walls and a couple of windows,” Franks said. But none of the victims were hurt by the blast.

ATF spokesman Russ Morrison couldn’t confirm the type of explosive used.

None of the children are believed to be related to Bowser, police said.

DeSoto police said they were contacted about 10:45 p.m. after Dallas police linked the suspect to the home on Galleria. Almost simultaneously, police said, they received a 911 call from a child at the home who described what was happening inside.

When DeSoto officers arrived, Bowser pretended to be among the victims and seemed catatonic, giving only his name, military rank and a serial number. U.S. Army officials confirmed that Bowser served from October 1991 to November 2000, rising to the rank of staff sergeant. Officials said they had no record of Bowser ever being a member of the Army Rangers, although authorities said he had tattoos suggesting that.

Officers quickly determined he was their suspect and took him into custody. Officers also confiscated a pocket knife from him.

A 3-year-old child in the DeSoto home appeared to be unhurt and was turned over to Child Protective Services, police said.

In a protective order Zina Bowser filed against her husband, she described a January 2011 incident during which he threatened the lives of her and her boys after she suggested that he move out of the home they shared on Galleria.

She said he refused to give her anything in the split and if she tried to take anything, “you are going to see what happens.”

“What’s going to happen?” she asked.

At that point, she said, Bowser approached her menacingly, bumped her with his stomach, pointed a finger in her face and said, “I will bury you.”

Zina Bowser said he then grabbed a pocketknife out of the nightstand, flipped it open and warned her, “Call the police and I will execute your kids.”

She called 911 anyway, and Bowser was arrested after she and her boys ran from the home.

Zina Bowser was a nurse practitioner who worked at John Peter Smith Hospital. She also co-wrote the 2012 booklet titled What the New Family Nurse Practitioner Needs to Know after Graduation.

In a statement, hospital officials said they were saddened to hear about Bowser’s death.

“Our hearts and prayers go out to her family, friends and her fellow team members here at JPS,” the statement said. “Zina was a compassionate member of our healthcare team, providing dedicated care for JPS employees and their family members as a nurse practitioner in our employee health clinic. She touched the lives of many and she will be greatly missed.”

Authorities say Bowser was previously arrested for violating a protective order and evading arrest. Records show that occurred in December 2011. Records also show he was arrested on a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

That protective order was ordered by the associate judge presiding over Bowser’s divorce — his second – in 2011. Records show his estranged wife lives at the home on Galleria.

Court records show that on Feb. 3, 2011, a judge wrote that “family violence has occured [sic] and is likely to occur in the future.” The protective order was granted for a year, and Bowser was ordered to get his then-wife’s “wedding ring and tennis bracelet from pawn shops” within two weeks.

According to Laura Jobe, administrative officer for the Mesquite ISD, Erbie Bowser worked for the district as a special education teacher from Dec. 10, 2001, to March 1, 2010, when he resigned “on good terms.” She did not know where Bowser went to work from there.

Jobe said that Bowser taught at Berry Middle School and at Mesquite Academy. She also said that at some point during his employment with the district, Bowser served as a volunteer football coach at West Mesquite High School, where he taught special education.

Jobe did not personally know Bowser but said that she spoke to another district employee who had worked with Bowser.

“From what I understand, he was a very likable guy,” Jobe said. “He was described to me as a gentle giant; never anything violent about him. In fact, just the opposite.”

Brad Lollar, one of three attorneys appointed to represent Bowser, said he was in DeSoto early Wednesday morning but wasn’t allowed to his client.

Lollar said Bowser is currently being treated at Parkland Memorial Hospital but did not know why he was there or if he was injured. He was taken by ambulance and was on a stretcher, he said.

Lollar and Beach are part of a unit at the Dallas County public defender’s office that represent defendants accused of capital murder who could possibly face the death penalty. The attorneys may have to wait to see him until he is booked into the Dallas County Jail.

Bowser is also a former Mavs ManiAACs performer. According to a 2011 bio on the group’s website, Bowser is 6-foot-7 and weighs almost 400 pounds. The Dallas Mavericks’ front office says it is “not planning on making a statement regarding Erbie Bowser’s past association with the Mavs ManiAACs.”

Several family members of the victims in the DeSoto home gathered around the house Thursday morning waiting for confirmation on what happened. Verniece Cridell, an aunt of the shooting victims, said she rushed to the house as soon as she heard Bowser’s name on the news.

Before some relatives left the scene in Dallas to check on the hospitalized victims, they gathered with dozens of friends in the parking lot of Charles Acton Elementary School to pray.

Texas Rangers and officials with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are involved in the investigation.

Staff writers Selwyn Crawford and Matt Peterson contributed to this report.


Family, friends mourn loss of four women killed in Dallas, DeSoto shooting rampage

By Scott Goldstein and Andrea Gallo

August  8, 2013

The Wednesday night shooting rampage that left four people dead and four others injured in Dallas and DeSoto struck deep at the victims’ relatives and friends.

Dozens of people attended a prayer vigil Thursday evening at Disciple Central Community Church in DeSoto, including some friends of the victims.

The women who died were at different phases in their lives. They were professionals and students, mothers and daughters. They were mourned Thursday on social media and in the neighborhoods where they died.


Zina Bowser, 47, was a nurse practitioner who worked at John Peter Smith Hospital. She also co-wrote the 2012 booklet titled “What the New Family Nurse Practitioner Needs to Know after Graduation.”

In a statement, hospital officials said they were saddened to hear about Bowser’s death.

“Our hearts and prayers go out to her family, friends and her fellow team members here at JPS,” it said.

“Zina was a compassionate member of our healthcare team, providing dedicated care for JPS employees and their family members as a nurse practitioner in our employee health clinic. She touched the lives of many and she will be greatly missed.”


Neima Williams, 28, was one of Bowser’s five children.

According to her Facebook page, Williams studied criminal justice at Tarrant County College and she was accepted last month to the University of Texas at Arlington.

Jamaree Johnson, the father of Williams’ 3-year-old son, Cohlin, said she didn’t live with her mother and would have been just visiting. He met Williams while they were both working at TSA as screeners.

“She was great,” Johnson said. “She was a big girl, but she had a big heart. She was a gentle giant.”

Just last week, she celebrated with Lancaster High School classmates at a 10-year reunion in Lewisville.

Relative Constance McKinney described her as “real nice, outgoing and fun … I know her baby is really going to miss her.”

Glenn Till, Williams’ brother, wrote on Facebook on Thursday, “You’ve always been there for me, and i will be there for your son. I love you, rest in peace.”


Toya Smith, 43, was on the phone with her mother shortly before she was killed, and the conversation worried her mother, police said.

Smith and Erbie Bowser, 44, had been dating, but it is unclear for how long.

“I’ve been telling her for the past two years to leave that guy alone,” Lurlean Smith told WFAA-TV (Channel 8). “He’s controlling. He thinks he can control women. But he did; he controlled my daughter, and it caused my baby’s death.”


Tasmia Allen, 17, Smith’s daughter, was a dancer who excelled in school and hoped to become a teacher, her friends said.

Allen was rarely seen without a smile on her face, and friends described her as having an uplifting spirit.

“If nobody else laughed, I knew she would,” said Charleston Matthews, 17, who’s been friends with Allen since seventh grade.

Allen was on the Duncanville High School High Hats dance team and was going to be an officer in the upcoming year. Cameryn Scott, 17, danced with her on the High Hats and said Allen was so passionate about performing that she would often dance through knee injuries.

“As soon as she was able to get back out there, she did,” Scott said.

Deashanea Minor, 19, said Allen loved zebra print and decorated her room with it. Minor met Allen when they took a senior-level algebra class together, though Allen was only a sophomore at the time. That was typical of Allen, who Matthews said was the smartest girl he knew.

Funeral arrangements for all four victims are pending.

Staff writers Tasha Tsiaperas, Tristan Hallman and Tanya Eiserer contributed to this report.



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