Injured Columbia Police Officer Molly Bowden remains in critical but stable condition after undergoing surgery Wednesday in an attempt to remove bullet fragments from her body.
Doctors at University Hospital also inserted a tube into her trachea and wired her shattered jaw closed.
Officer Sam Hargedine said the police did not know anything about the effectiveness of the surgery.
The pastor of Bowden’s church, Michael Burt, said these were long-term procedures intended to make Bowden more comfortable.
Bowden’s parents, David and Beverly Thomas, have recorded updates on their answering machine. The machine said Thursday that Bowden is making the transition to breathing on her own, and she continues to open and close her eyes.
Hargedine said Bowden needs an MRI, but doctors had been unable to administer that test because of the bullet fragments.
Police said Richard Evans shot Bowden on Jan. 10 after she pulled him over for a routine traffic stop. The next day, he shot and wounded Officer Curtis Brown, who was investigating the shooting. Evans then turned the gun on himself.
Since the shootings, some Columbia citizens have raised concerns about police patrolling alone.
But Boone County Sheriff Dwayne Carey said neither the Sheriff’s Department nor the Columbia Police use a “buddy system.”
“We never run two person units unless one of the officers is in training,” he said.
Hargedine explained that when a vehicle is pulled over, the location and license plates are dispatched. Other beat officers who are in the area usually do what is called a “drive-by” and pass the scene to make sure the situation is under control.
He said an officer will call for backup if something is suspicious or unusual about a car that is pulled over.
He said Bowden did not call for back-up.
“She was in the process of calling up information on the vehicle, and she hadn’t received it back,” Hargedine said.
He explained that checks on the driver are usually not run until contact has been made. Bowden never got a chance to run a check on Evans.
Hargedine said he doesn’t know what occurred when Bowden made contact with Evans.
“Only Molly knows,” he said.