News for North Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

UPDATE: Suspect In Shooting Spree Was A 'Gentle Giant,' Ex-Colleagues Say


Update, 6 p.m.: Erbie Bowser, the 44-year-old suspect in Wednesday's shooting spree, was a certified special education teacher in the Mesquite School District from 2001 to 2010. Laura Jobe with the district says colleagues who knew Bowser are shocked.

"From what I’ve heard from those who knew him, he was kind of described as a gentle giant," Jobe told KERA.  "He is a very large man and kind-of surprisingly was very soft spoken; very kind.  They describe him as a big, lovable guy."

Bowser taught at Mesquite Academy, West Mesquite High School and Berry Middle School.  Jobe says he left on good terms in 2010.  

Our original post: A man went on a two-city shooting and explosives spree on Wednesday night, killing four people and injuring four others. Police have not released the names of the victims or the suspect, who's been arrested.

Family members identified him as 44-year-old Erbie Bowser, a former special education teacher in Mesquite who for almost a decade was a member of the Mavs ManiAACs -- the Dallas Mavericks' beefy, male dance team.

On Thursday morning, Dallas police said the two killed in that city were a mother in her 40s and her 17-year-old daughter. A 14-year-old son was shot and wounded, as was a 17-year-old female family friend.

Detectives say information they found at that West Dallas home led them to immediately notify DeSoto police, giving them an address on Galleria Drive. About the same time, the DeSoto police got a 911 call from a child at that address. Officers found two adult women dead. Two boys, 11 and 13, were shot and wounded.

Police say the suspect threw an explosive device into the DeSoto house as he entered. DeSoto police say a domestic dispute is behind the spree.

Former KERA reporter BJ Austin spent more than 25 years in broadcast journalism, anchoring and reporting in Atlanta, New York, New Orleans and Dallas. Along the way, she covered Atlanta City Hall, the Georgia Legislature and the corruption trials of Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards.