LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Trevor Bowie all but admitted to several of the charges — including pointing a firearm and possibly attempted murder — in his first full day of trial in which he’s serving as his own legal counsel.
Police shot Bowie, 31, several times about 1:25 a.m. April 21, 2020, outside of the Health Department offices on North Sixth Street.
Lafayette police Officer Khoury Elias testified Tuesday afternoon about shooting Bowie, who police were looking for after his girlfriend reported Bowie stole her handgun.
Elias saw Bowie running west from Seven Street and into the Health Department’s back parking lot, but Bowie fell, and his pistol fell onto the ground.
“I saw Mr. Bowie pick up the gun and point it at me,” Elias testified.
Jurors watched Elias’ dash-cam video, which recorded the entire incident, including Elias yelling four times for Bowie to drop the gun.
“He actually stood up with the gun and pointed at me,” Elias said. “That’s when I fired.
“He dropped the gun and actually fell to the ground, as well.
“Then while he was lying on the ground, he picked up the gun again and pointed at me,” Elias testified about the second volley of shots fired at Bowie in the seven-second encounter before shots were fired.
The second round of shots was fired by Elias and Lafayette police Officer Israel Salazar, who testified he arrived on the scene just before the first volley of shots were fired.
Elias testified he and Salazar only fired at Bowie when he had the gun pointed at officers, and they got Bowie medical help for his wounds as soon as he let got of the sidearm.
“Let go of the gun, now,” Elias said twice, according to police dash-cam video presented to jurors. “You got to drop it. We’re going to get you help, but you got to let the gun go.”
After the shooting, Elias’ body camera video showed him consoling Salazar, saying, “We had no choice.”
During cross exam, Bowie said, “I noticed when you got out of the car, the first thing you said was, ‘Drop the gun. Drop the gun.’ Why didn’t you announce you were a police officer?”
Elias pointed out that he was yelling orders from behind the door of a police car with red and blue flashing lights, so that might be safe to assume he was a police officer.
Bowie repeatedly asked Elias to speculate on what his state of mind might have been. But Bowie’s questions were moot because Tippecanoe Superior 1 Judge Randy Williams sustained prosecutor’s objections that Elias can’t possibly know or discern what Bowie’s state of mind was.
Bowie asked Elias why he shot him when he pointed the gun in Elias’ direction instead of waiting for backup or waiting to see what Bowie’s next actions might be.
“There was an imminent threat of death,” Elias replied, noting that Bowie’s gun was pointed at him. “I didn’t want to shoot, but you gave me no choice.”
“Why didn’t you wait for backup?” Bowie asked in cross examination.
“When you got up, I didn’t know how that would unfold,” Elias said, noting that Bowie took a shooting stance and pointed the gun at him.
Bowie’s cross examination was littered with questions that were inadmissible or accusatory towards the police officers.
“The police are not on trial in this cause,” Williams cautioned Bowie about his questions.
Prosecutors reviewed the case and determined that Elias and Salazar were within their rights to fire as a matter of self defense. A Lafayette police firearms review board ruled that the officers did not violate department policy or procedures in the use of deadly force.
Bowie faces charges of attempted murder, several firearm violations and drug charges, as well as resisting law enforcement, theft charges.
Additionally, Bowie faces a charge of disobeying the emergency declaration that was declared as part of the COVID-19 lockdown.
Bowie’s trial resumes Wednesday morning.
Reach Ron Wilkins at [email protected] Follow on Twitter: @RonWilkins2.