A former dancer for the Dallas Mavericks' male dance team went on a violent rampage in far southwest Dallas last night, using guns and a grenade, killing four people and wounding others, police say.
It began at around 10:30 p.m., when 44-year-old Erbie Bowser walked into his ex-girlfriend's home on the 7100 block of Long Canyon Trail and opened fire, killing Toya Smith, 43, and her 17-year-old daughter. Smith's 14-year-old son and a family friend were taken to a hospital.
At a press conference today, Dallas police Major Jeff Cotner told reporters that their bodies were discovered by Smith's mother, who went to check on the family after a worrying conversation with her daughter earlier in the night. She told WFAA that no one answered when she knocked but could hear someone gasping for air through a window at the back.
Bowser then hopped in his car and drove seven miles to a his former home in the 100 block of Galleria Drive in DeSoto, which now belongs to his
ex- estranged wife, listed in property records as Zina Till. (Note: she's referred to by police as Zina Bowser.) He tossed a grenade inside and, after it detonated, walked in with guns blazing. By the time he ran out of ammo, Till and a woman named Neima Williams were dead. Till's children, 8-year-old Miles White and 13-year-old Chris White, were wounded.
According to The Dallas Morning News, Bowser pretended to be one of the victims when police arrived at the house on Galleria Drive. Once they figured out he was unhurt, WFAA reports that he gave officers his name, Army rank, and serial number. (
In a 2008 application for divorce, Bowser wrote under the section "Military Service" that "neither party is a member of the United State Military."The U.S. Army confirmed to the Morning News that he served from October 1991 to November 2000 and achieved the rank of sergeant.)
After that, he became an educator, serving as a special education teacher at Mesquite ISD's Berry Middle School and Mesquite Academy before resigning on good terms in March 2010.
Bowser was arrested but never formally charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in 2011. He also has a previous arrest for violating a protective order granted on behalf of Till during the couple's divorce proceedings in 2011. The order, issued two weeks after Till filed for divorce, was on the grounds that "family violence has occurred and is likely to occur in the future." The judge also ordered Bowser to retrieve his wife's wedding ring and tennis bracelet from a nearby pawn shop, which he failed to do.
(Update at 3:10 p.m.: WFAA got a hold of the affidavit from Bowser's 2011 arrest for violating his protective order. According to the affidavit, he showed up at her home at 8:30 p.m. on January 24, ostensibly to give back the wedding ring. Instead, he shoved her, put his finger to her face, saying, "I will bury you." He then took a knife from a nightstand by their bed and threatened to "cut your-- up but I am going to execute the kids.)
Bowser did not at first volunteer that he is a former Mavs Maniaac dancer, though the media seized hold of that soon enough. His current absence from the squad might have something to do with previous arrests for violating a protective order and evading arrest. It's not clear. All we really know is that his name was E-Luv and that he prefers "the briefs that are like boxers":
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.