COLUMBIA — Relatives and friends of Columbia Police officer Molly Bowden will gather to celebrate her 3 1/2 years of service at about 9:30 p.m. near the intersection at Forum and Nifong boulevards, where she was shot in the line of duty in 2005.
Bowden was wounded on Jan. 10, 2005, after she pulled over motorist Richard Evans in a south Columbia neighborhood. She was hospitalized for one month in critical condition and passed away Feb. 10, 2005. She was 26.
The memorial tonight will not only commemorate her life but also the vigilance and duties of current law enforcement officers. During the ceremony, the stretch of road along Nifong Boulevard, now named Officer Molly Bowden Memorial Boulevard, will be shut down and traffic will be rerouted.
Pastor Michael Burt of Columbia’s Grace Bible Church, who knew Bowden since high school, will lead the memorial. “This has been a model of how these disasters can still have a positive effect on the community,” Burt said.
He said the service will begin with an acknowledgement of current law enforcement and the incredible risks they face in their daily duties. “They can’t ever let up,” Burt said. “And we need to be appreciative of that.”
At 9:50 p.m., a moment of silence will mark the time Bowden was shot.
Police Chief Randy Boehm said the years since Bowden’s death have helped the department heal. But he said he is certain there isn’t a day that goes by that officers don’t think of Bowden.
“It still seems like a recent thing,” Boehm said.