Officials: Did burglary spur killing?
Victim of shooting may have been mediating dispute
SCHENECTADY Authorities are looking into the possibility that a Friday afternoon killing on Schenectady Street may have had roots in an earlier burglary, a prosecutor said Monday.
But how that burglary factored into the shooting was still being investigated, John Healy said.
Healy said authorities don’t have any reason to believe the victim, Charles Bowman, was involved or connected to the burglary. Bowman’s connection may have simply been an attempt to settle the incident peacefully, Healy said.
“Witnesses have said he was attempting to mediate a dispute,” Healy said.
Charged with one count of second-degree murder is 28-year-old Terell Bethea. Bethea is accused of shooting Bowman, a 43-year-old city resident, just before 2:30 p.m. Friday outside 425 Schenectady St.
Bowman died of his wounds Friday evening.
Witnesses and street surveillance video have been helping police in their investigation, Healy said.
A city police surveillance camera in the area “caught significant portions of what happened,” Healy said.
Police have also been speaking with witnesses connected to both Bethea and Bowman, Healy said.
“Some witnesses are saying it may have had something to do with a prior incident in which the shooter, Mr. Bethea, was the victim of a burglary,” Healy said. As far as the shooting, Healy said, “it seems like a generalized anger from the defendant about what had just happened.”
The burglary, about a block away from the shooting scene, had been reported to police earlier. Bethea did not appear to be the direct victim of the burglary, Healy said, but “it seemed to be something that was significant to Bethea.”
In addition to the murder charge, Bethea is charged with one count of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, felonies. The handgun believed to have been used was recovered and had been reported stolen in Vermont in 2006, police said.
There was also a knife found at the scene, Healy said. What connection that had to the incident was unclear. There were no reports of anyone making threats with a knife, he said.
Bowman is identified in his obituary as a self-employed credit counselor. He was born in Niskayuna and graduated from Mont Pleasant High School. He had six children and three stepchildren. He also had five grandchildren.
A large memorial to Bowman remained at the scene of the shooting on Monday. The memorial included dozens of votive candles, empty bottles and a shirt with remembrances.
The candles, many of them still lit, were tucked into tipped bins, sheltering them from weekend rain.
Looking at the memorial from across Schenectady Street on Monday, Joaquin Morales pointed to the memorial as a sign of how well-liked Bowman was.
Morales called the whole incident “just horrible.”
“It’s not the kind of stuff we’re used to over here,” he said, “or at least you don’t want to get used to it.”
Services are scheduled for Friday evening at 7 at Refreshing Springs Church of God in Christ, Georgetta Dix Plaza, Schenectady. Calling hours are to be from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday at the church. Burial is to be Saturday morning.