Erbie Bowser, 44 — a former member of the Dallas Mavericks' male dance team — has been named as the suspect in a shocking Texas shooting spree that left four people dead and four injured, including several children, last night across two crime scenes in Dallas and DeSoto, Texas.
Among the dead are Bowser's ex-girlfriend and ex-wife.
Here's what you should know about this tragic story and the man at the center of it.
1. He Was an NBA Dancer
Bowser was previously a dancer with the Dallas Mavericks' dance troupe known as the "Mavs ManiAACs." A bio from 2011 on their website (which has since been removed) says that he weighs 399 pounds and went by the name E-Luv. He cites his favorite Dallas player a German power forward Dirk Nowitzki. NBC Dallas reports that E-Luv was listed as a member for the 2012/13 season.
The troupe, according to the Facebook page are:
The Mavs magical big man dance troupe are in their 11th season. The very first group of its kind in the NBA. Tonight show,America's Got Talent, GQ magazine, billboards, commercials, NBA Allstar game 2005/2010, and the list goes on and on.....
The group also perform for charities and good causes, in June they had a show in aid of the West, Texas fertilizer plant explosion victims:
2. He Allegedly Killed His Ex-Girlfriend in Dallas
At the Dallas crime scene — 7100 Block of Long Canyon Trail in Dallas — an adult woman, thought to be Bowser's ex, and her 17-year-old daughter were killed. Her 14-year-old son and and a teen female family friend were wounded. The deceased victims are Toya Smith, 43, and Tasmia Allen, 17. Tasmia was shot in the back of the head.
In the video above, Lurlean Smith, Toya's mom, talks about discovering the gruesome scene. Cops responded to the Dallas scene around 10:30 p.m.
3. He Then Allegedly Continued the Carnage at the Home of His Ex-Wife in DeSoto
Bowser allegedly drove seven miles south and continued his spree at the home of his ex-wife. At the DeSoto crime scene — a home in 100 block of Galleria Drive, reportedly owned by his ex-wife, Zina Till — two adult women were shot dead and two boys, ages 13 and 11, were wounded.
4. He Threw a Grenade
At the DeSoto scene, Bowser allegedly tossed a live grenade into the home and then went in and shot four people after it detonated.
5. He Pretended to Be a Victim
According to WFAA, when police entered the DeSoto home, Bowser tried to pass himself off as a victim, before it became clear he was uninjured. There also was an uninjured 3-year-old at the scene.
6. He's Ex-Military
WFAA reports that when police entered the home in Desoto and found Bowser, after he pretended that he was victim, the former-dancer recited his name, military rank and serial number.
The Dallas Morning News confirms that Bowser served in the U.S. Army from 1991-2000, rising to the rank of staff sergeant. He was never deployed.
Arresting officers noted that Bowser had tattoos that identified him as an Army Ranger, though speaking to DallasNews.com, officials denied that Bowser was a ranger.
However the Dallas Observer says that in a 2008 application for divorce, it was written: "Neither party is a member of the United State Military."
7. He Previously Threatened to Kill His Ex-Wife's Children
In December 2011, Bowser was reportedly arrested for violating a protective order — issued in February 2011 at a divorce hearing in relation to "family violence." In a court affidavit obtained by the Dallas Morning News, Bowser's slain ex-wife, Zina Bowser, was claiming that he told her: "I will execute your kids" when she told him she was leaving him. He also told her that he would "bury her" if she attempted to take anything from him. He then threatened her with a pocketknife. When Bowser was arrested after the massacre in Desoto, police confiscated a pocketknife from him.
The judge reportedly ordered him to retrieve his wife's wedding ring and tennis bracelet from pawn shops; he never did it.
He also has a prior charge for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
8. He Was Special Education Teacher
Bowser worked at Mesquite Independent School District from 2001 to 2010 as a teacher and football coach. He left "on good terms," a spokesperson told the AP.
9. He Has a Degree in Criminology
According to his Facebook page, Bowser graduated from Texas Christian University in 1990 with a degree in criminology. He also graduated Texas A&M with a master's in early childhood education in 2011.
10. He Started a 'Foundation for Children'
Bowser claimed in a 2010 Facebook post that he created the Matti Bowser Children's Foundation, named for his mom, which he described as:
Charitable fundraising by means of church, local business and personal donations to provide food, clothes, and shelter for inner-city and rural children.
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