When Columbia police officer Molly Bowden made what appeared to be a routine traffic stop at 9:50 p.m. Monday, it was recorded by a video camera mounted on her dashboard.
Although the video has not been released, Police Chief Randy Boehm said it includes important evidence of the shooting of Bowden.
“We do have in-car video in all of our marked vehicles,” Boehm said. “Officer Bowden did have that video in operation at the time. It does contain evidence of this crime that I think will prove to be very significant.”
Boehm said Richard T. Evans shot Bowden three times at close range, including two shots after she was incapacitated. On Tuesday morning, Evans was charged with first-degree assault of a law enforcement officer and armed criminal action in connection with the shooting.
Evans died Tuesday evening from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Police said Evans shot himself after being confronted by officers near his parents’ home in central Columbia.
The Columbia Police Department has been using dashboard-mounted video cameras since 1993, when Mothers Against Drunk Driving purchased one camera each for the Columbia Police Department and the Boone County Sheriff’s Department.
Video from dashboard cameras is most often used for drunken driving arrests, but it can also be for use in monitoring police action and for use by defense or prosecuting attorneys in all types of cases.
Rob Millard, fleet supervisor for the Columbia Police Department, said all of the department’s cars were equipped with dashboard video cameras in 1996.