Columbia Responds

After the death of Officer Molly Bowden, the first Columbia police officer to die in the line of duty from an assault, Columbians mourns and remember the life of a woman many are calling a hero.
Monday, February 14, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 2:39 p.m. CDT, Friday, July 18, 2008

Condolences flood in

When reserve Columbia police Officer David Young and his wife, Debbie, got off their motorcycle at the Columbia Police Department, they stopped to look at the memorial of flowers, cards, bears and candles. They came to the station to buy another magnetic blue ribbon dedicated to Officer Molly Bowden.

“This is for our daughter,” Debbie Young said. “We already have one.”

David Young has known Officer Molly Bowden’s husband, Corey, since the mid-1990s. They were in the same reserve squad.

“The police are like a family,” David Young said. “I know what it’s like to be out on the street.”

To cope with the loss of Bowden, the Young family has been praying a lot and talking to people, David Young said.

“The community finally came together and rallied around the police department, and that’s good to see,” he said.

The Youngs already put flowers out at the spot where Bowden was shot. When they saw the memorial at the police station, David Young said, “We should probably put some more out here.”

— Noreen Siddiqui

Mentor reminisces

W.A. Locke III was Officer Molly Bowden’s friend and former Air Force ROTC instructor at MU.

“We did many things together in our days at Mizzou, as Molly was involved in every activity we had, including those of our public service organizations, the Arnold Air Society and Angel Flight-Silver Wings,” Locke said.

One activity Bowden participated in was the annual Veterans Day 24-hour vigil sponsored by the Air Force ROTC. Cadets sign up for one-hour shifts. During that shift, they march in place with weapons. Bowden signed up for two shifts.

“It is a very tedious business, and if I remember correctly, it was very cold that year,” Locke said.

— Cassie Fuerst

Poem dedicated

On Friday, Patti Watts, a history teacher at Hickman High School, read a poem to her class. It’s the way she begins every class, but on that day she chose a poem to honor Officer Molly Bowden.

The poem was about sadness but also about hope, Watts said.

“The Darkling Thrush,” by Thomas Hardy, ends with this passage:

“That I could think there trembled through

His happy good-night air

Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew,

And I was unaware.”

— Graham Johnston

Cape officer grieves

It is never easy for Detective Darren Estes to post condolences for fallen police officers online, but seeing Officer Molly Bowden’s image on the Officer Down Memorial Web site brought an intensely personal wave of grief.

“Now I know when I go on call, you will be watching me from heaven,” Estes typed. “It is so sad to lose such a brave sister as you.”

Estes, who works for the Cape Girardeau Police Department, remembers patrolling Paris Road in Columbia with Bowden’s husband, Corey Bowden. He never met Molly Bowden, but he valued his friendship with her husband, who often rode with him during field training and patrols.

“Corey and I worked the same beat for several years and backed each other up many times,” Estes said.

On Tuesday, Estes will drive 229 miles from his office in Cape Girardeau to Mizzou Arena for Molly Bowden’s funeral. It is a chance to see his former colleagues, but he wishes the reunion would have happened in different circumstances.

“We had a couple of officers shot last year, and by the grace of God we didn’t have to go to any funerals,” he said. “I’m looking forward to seeing my buddies, but not like this.”

— Katie Fretland

Pizzeria remembers

G&D Pizza is popular among police officers, and Molly Bowden was no exception. She was one of the regulars, said Pano Terzopoulos, co-owner of the restaurant.

Bowden came in at least once or twice a week with her parents or other officers. On the night she was shot, Bowden and her parents had a last meal at G&D Pizza.

“She was always really nice and easy to talk to,” Manager Rob Dolliver said. “She had a warm, outgoing personality. (She was) friendly, easy to strike up a conversation with.”

Employee Aaron Warren found out Bowden died while he was driving by Grace Bible Church. He saw that the sign asking people to pray for Bowden now asked them to pray for her family. Warren was in shock.

“It’s a bad way to find out, but I guess there is no good way to find out,” he said.

Terzopoulos said the news of Bowden’s death was devastating.

“It’s a tragedy, that’s what it is,” he said.

The frustration Bowden’s death brought showed when Terzopoulos tried to explain the effect on local residents. He said he does not understand why Richard Evans shot Bowden because police officers are there to protect people. Local officers continue to come to G&D Pizza to eat a meal together.

“Some of them are angry that this happened, especially the ones who saw the tape,” Dolliver said. “They seem very upset. I’m sure I’d be very upset, too.”

— Noreen Siddiqui

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