A deadly shooting in Dallas by a former Texas special education teacher resulted in the killing of four and the wounding of four others after an apparent domestic dispute, police said.
The suspect was identified as Erbie Bowser, a well-liked special education teacher in Mesquite, Texas, who resigned in 2010. Bowser was described by a colleague as a “gentle giant.”
The shooting began inside a house in Dallas, where a woman in her early 40s and a 17-year-old girl were found dead. The spree ended soon afterward in another house in DeSoto, a suburb about 15 miles south, where two people were killed and a 17-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy were wounded, according to Corporal Melissa Franks of the DeSoto, Texas Police Department.
“We do believe this is a domestic-related incident,” a police official said.
Bowser served in the Army from October 1991 to November 2000, reaching the rank of sergeant and receiving several medals, including one for good conduct, and receiving an “Expert Infantryman” badge, according to spokesman Troy A. Rolan.
All four of the murdered victims died of gunshot wounds.
In addition to working as a special education teacher at two schools in the Mesquite Independent School District from December 2001 through March 2010, Bowser also coached football at West Mesquite High School.
“He left on good terms. He did resign, he was not terminated,” said Laura Jobe, a spokeswoman for the Mesquite Independent School District.
“He had a good history here. He was well liked. He’s been described as a gentle giant,” Jobe said.
In addition, Bowser performed with the Dallas Maverick’s ManiAACs, an all-male dance team of “beefy men,” according to the group’s website. A 2011 bio of Bowser for the ManiAACs said he was 6-foot-7 and nearly 400 pounds, the Dallas Morning News reported.
He left the squad in 2009 and the basketball team had not been in contact with him since, a spokesman said.
Family members at both of the scenes identified the two women killed in Dallas as Toya Smith and her daughter Mia Allen, while in DeSoto, the victims were identified as Zina Teal and her daughter Niema. The survivors from the Dallas shooting include Toya Smith’s 14-year-old son Storm. The survivors of the DeSoto shooting include 13-year-old Chris White and 11-year-old Miles White, sons to Zina Teal. An uninjured 3-year-old was found inside the home.
A woman named Lurlean Smith told NBC 5 that Bowser was in a relationship with her daughter, Toya. Smith also confirmed that her 14-year-old grandson Storm was shot and then taken from the home by the shooter. But he is now at an area hospital receiving treatment.
Smith said she was on the phone with Toya just minutes before the shooting on Wednesday night and believed something was wrong, so she went to the Dallas home to investigate. Once she got there she could hear Toya moaning and gasping for breath through the window as the 17-year-old survivor, who was also shot, managed to open the door to the home.
Smith said she found Mia shot in the back of the head.
“Her door was open. The car was open. Evidently they were trying to get away,” Smith said.
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