1 slain in Ohatchee robbery

Rachael Scarborough King
Star Staff Writer
Published: July 20, 2006

OHATCHEE – An Ohatchee man buying bottled water was killed in a robbery and shooting Wednesday evening at the Sav-More convenience store on Alabama 144.

Thomas E. Dewey Bowen, 62, was killed by a single bullet to the left side of his chest at the former Texaco station at 1485 Alabama 144, police said. Bowen was sitting in a chair when he was shot, said Ohatchee Police Chief Wayne Chandler.

The store’s owner, Jim Cosper, was grazed on the right arm by a bullet.

Chandler said two men, described as being in their 20s, robbed the store. One was carrying a handgun and shot at Bowen and Cosper. Chandler said he thought the shooter intended to kill both men but Cosper ducked out of the way.

The two men left with money in a small vehicle, driving east on Alabama 144. Police declined to give any more information about the men or their vehicle in order to protect the investigation.

“I hope we’ll be able to get out here and catch the people that are responsible because they need to be caught,” Chandler said.

The incident occurred around 5:30 Wednesday evening and police were notified shortly after, with the time of death for Bowen estimated at 5:40 p.m., Calhoun County Assistant Coroner Marvin Southard said.

Chandler said the two men probably will be charged with murder, robbery, and attempted murder.

“It’s cold-blooded murder,” Chandler said. “He didn’t do anything as far as I know (and they shot him) … they intended to kill him.”

In addition to Ohatchee Police, several agencies including the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office, the Alabama Bureau of Investigation, the Calhoun County District Attorney’s Office and the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences responded to the crime scene. Bowen’s body was transported to a forensics lab in Huntsville.

News of the crime spread quickly through the close-knit community of Ohatchee, with many local residents gathering outside the Sav-More parking lot late into the night.

Harold Davis, an acquaintance of Bowen, said he heard about the alleged robbery when he stopped by Tg’s, a nearby sporting goods store. Davis said the employees had locked Tg’s doors when they heard about the incident at Sav-More but opened them when he arrived.

Davis said he thought Bowen was buying water for his grandson’s baseball team.

“He would give you the shirt off his back,” he said. “A nice guy.”

Davis said Bowen was retired. He added that the crime is likely to make people more worried about security in the area.

“I know I’m going to get me a private fence put around my house with a gate that locks,” he said.

Bowen is the first shooting victim to die in Ohatchee since Ben Matthis Copeland IV killed his girlfriend Gretchen Bradley Ellis Pugh and her two children in January 2005. Police shot and killed Copeland after a five-hour standoff.

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