On March 21, a homicide and subsequent house fire claimed the life of Greenville resident Charles Bowman, 67.
At about 6:30 a.m. that Saturday, the Greenville Fire Department and the Greenville Police Department were dispatched to a house fire at Bowman’s home, 517 E. Moore St.
Once the fire was extinguished, firefighters found Bowman dead inside his home.
“We collected samples from the scene and they’ve been sent off to a crime lab for analysis,” Greenville Fire Department Chief Ruben Brown said.
Bowman’s daughter, Chiconna Bowman, is still reeling from the death of her father, who had just celebrated his 67th birthday two days prior.
“That was the last time I saw him because he came over to get his gift,” Bowman said.
Bowman said the following Friday, her father, who she said was known to many as an apostle, went to revival at a local church. The next morning, she received a phone call from a cousin telling her about the fire.
When Bowman saw that her father’s car was not at the house when she arrived, she assumed he wasn’t home and wasn’t worried.
“Standing out there, I didn’t make the connection with the coroners being on scene, but I remember someone asking me if he owned a gun and I heard them say there were shell casings,” Bowman recalled.
When a body bag was seen being carried out of the home, Bowman said she asked her cousin to see who it was, fearful it was her father.
When her cousin nodded his head as to say yes, Bowman said she immediately broke down crying.
“It still hadn’t set in, the fact that he was in his home and someone went in there and shot him, set the house on fire, and then stole his vehicle. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around that,” she said.
Bowman said she has heard speculation about her father’s death and has given the authorities all of the information she possibly can.
Although she is disappointed an arrest has yet to be made, Bowman said she has been able to find some solace in the memory of her father, who she said was instrumental in her life, calling herself a “daddy’s girl.”
Bowman reflected on her father’s love for people and how much of his time was dedicated to ministry and even jogging around the town.
“He comes from the era of Nelson Street, that’s where he was born and raised … even in his service as a minister, he went on Nelson daily and ministered to those people in the neighborhood,” she said. “My dad was a good guy and he just didn’t deserve the way they went in his house and killed him.”
With there being mandates and protocols in place that prohibit large gatherings due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, Bowman said some people aren’t even aware of her father’s death.
She had to have a closed-casket ceremony and kept the details of funeral very limited.
Bowman said her father was a well-known man and is adamant about seeking justice for him. She said she wants people in the community to assist in that endeavor if they can because she knows others would want the same for their loved ones.
“This case will not go cold and will not remain unsolved. My dad has been in my life since I’ve been in this world and to have him taken from me like that, I have to make sure justice is served,” she said.
Bowman said she has been in contact recently with the investigator on the case and was told they are still awaiting results from the state’s crime laboratory. The time frame for the delivery of those results has been impacted by COVID-19.
“It just doesn’t sit well with me, knowing someone went into his home and shot him in the head, set his home on fire, and stole his vehicle,” an emotional Bowman said.
GPD assistant chief Michael Merchant said the investigation is ongoing and the department is currently following up on a lead.
Regarding the efforts being made to apprehend whoever is responsible, Bowman said, “I want no stone unturned. I know it’s a process, but I want to feel like (GPD) is actually working to solve this case.”