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at the stand-off
Law enforcement personnel mass on SR 50 just East of I - 75 where Carr held a hostage inside the Shell gas station.
[Times photo /Toni L. Sandys]
Following the story through the Times

he day began with a little boy who wanted to learn to swim. Within hours he was dead, and the day exploded into the deadliest ever for Tampa Bay police officers. As a more complete story of Hank Carr's rampage emerges, so do fateful details - from the tiny handcuff master key that dangled from Carr's neck, to the final tense hours of negotiations as a suicidal Carr held a gas station attendant hostage and wrote letters to his girlfriend.

[NOTE: Stories are listed in reverse chronological order -- the first reports of the shooting are at the bottom]

Bernice Bowen reacts as the medical examiner describes the wounds he found on her sons face and head during his autopsy of her son. [Times photo: Tony Lopez]
Latest stories
Debate on Bowen's role lingers

As Bernice Bowen's sentencing nears, some wonder if her fate would be different if Hank Earl Carr lived. [7/5]

Bowen enters final guilty plea
Bernice Bowen admits her neglect led to the death of her son, Joey, shot last year by Hank Earl Carr. [6/4]

Kayla Bennett won't testify
Prosecutors decide there could be "residual trauma" for the 6-year-old if she testifies against her mother, Bernice Bowen. [6/3]

Bernice Bowen pleads guilty to neglect
But she still faces one more charge: that by neglecting her son, she caused his death. [6/2]

Bowen guilty of aiding Carr’s killing rampage
Jurors say they took no satisfaction in finding that Carr's girlfriend was an accessory after the fact. [5/29] Story

Daughter may testify against Bowen in neglect case
TAMPA -- A jury may have delivered a verdict Friday, but the courtroom drama isn't over for Bernice Bowen. And the next case could bring her own 6-year-old daughter back to Tampa to testify against her. [5/29]

Amid sobs, Bowen tells her side of story
A jury deliberates the fate of a woman accused of lying to protect the man who killed three officers and her son.

Carr's guns filled boy's life, trial shows
The man who killed Bernice Bowen's son -- the man prosecutors say she protected -- had the boy play with weapons, witnesses say. [5/27/99] Story

2 words, one theme in trial of Bowen
If only: They're the two saddest words in the language, and they get used frequently in conversations about Hank Carr and his girlfriend Bernice Bowen and the four people left dead on that hideous day, May 19, 1998. Mary Jo Melone column

Prosecution: Evasion answered plea for help
Testimony shows that Bernice Bowen did little to help officers. However, the defense tries to shift the blame for the officers' deaths to Hank Earl Carr. Story [5/26]

Six jurors chosen in Bowen case
Three men and three women will hear opening statements today in the case against Bernice Bowen. [5/25] Story

Cop killer's girlfriend goes on trial
The case is expected to center on Bernice Bowen's actions after police told her that her boyfriend, Hank Earl Carr, killed three officers. [524] Story

A year of grieving
Two widows and a fiancee attempt to cope with life in the wake of Hank Earl Carr's deadly rampage, which took the lives of two veteran police detectives and a rookie highway patrol trooper a year ago. [5/16] Story

'I wish I could have ... taken the bullet'
Bowen's jailhouse interview. [Times files]
In a jailhouse interview, Bernice Bowen talks about the day Hank Carr killed her son and three police officers. (June 20, 1998) Story

Trooper's widow revisits a memory
A month after Trooper James Crooks' murder, his fiancee attends highway patrol graduation. Only last year, she had shed tears of joy as her recruit graduated to a job he loved.

No evidence slain child had been abused
TAMPA -- An autopsy of Joey Bennett found no signs the 4-year-old had been abused in the months before being fatally shot in the face, according to a state investigative file released Friday.

Hank Earl Carr kept in arms through private gun sales
TAMPA -- More than two dozen guns have been linked to Hank Earl Carr by Tampa police trying to determine what role Carr's girlfriend played in their ownership. (June 12, 1998)

Judge sets bail at $50,000 for Bernice Bowen
TAMPA -- A judge set bail Monday for Bernice Bowen, whose boyfriend last month killed her small son, three law enforcement officers and then himself. But Bowen, charged with child abuse for exposing her children to Hank Earl Carr, still may not get out of jail. (June 9, 1998)

Sympathy comes from all corners
The mailbox at Tampa police headquarters has been filled with tender cards and letters to a department suffering the loss of two of its own: detectives Randy Bell and Ricky Childers. Though most were condolences from citizens and law enforcement officials, a few stood out among the rest. (June 3, 1998)

Support flows for officers' families
TAMPA -- From the smallest gesture -- a thank-you, a stranger's hug, a Beanie Baby for the daughter of a murdered detective -- to the largest cash donation, last week's rush of community support has overwhelmed the Tampa Police Department. (May 30, 1998)

Killer's girlfriend arrested
Bernice Bowen is charged with two counts of aggravated child abuse for leaving her children with Hank Earl Carr. (May 29, 1998)

Trooper's radio blared warning: 'Stay away'
Hank Earl Carr managed to throw the officer off guard, ambushing him on an exit ramp, Highway Patrol officials say. (May 28, 1998)

5-year-old Kayla to remain in foster care
A judge rules that the state has until July 9 to investigate the child's relatives. (May 27, 1998)

'I buried my dad and my uncle'
Ricky Childers' son talks about losing his father as well as Randy Bell, the man who was like an uncle to him. (May 26, 1998)

  • Family observes final rites for Carr
    Joey Bennett, the child Hank Earl Carr shot before killing three law enforcement officers, is expected to be buried later this week in Ohio.
  • Scholarships named in honor of officers
    Long after the pain of having four Tampa Bay law enforcement officers killed this spring subsides, Arthur F. Kirk Jr. wants their names and their memories to live on.

May 24, 1998

Tampa police officer Steven Cragg, salutes as the procession heads east on Kennedy to Channelside Drive.
[Times photo: Dan McDuffie]
Honoring the fallen

Four days after Ricky Childers and Randy Bell were killed in a murderous rampage, thousands gather with their families and co-workers to remember and mourn them.


May 23, 1998

The flag covering Trooper Crooks' casket is presented to his mother, Vivian Crooks, on Friday in Clewiston.
[Times photo: Tony Lopez]
Thousands bid trooper an emotional goodbye
James Crooks, 23, is the first of the three officers killed in Hank Carr's deadly rampage to be laid to rest.

Flowers, flags and other offerings adorn the the bronze police hat on the base of the statue at the memorial site at theTampa Police Dept. on Franklin Street. [Times photo: Dan McDuffie]
May 22, 1998

Survivors, mourners left to grieve
A child watched as her brother was killed and now waits with strangers to learn her future. A construction company owner saw a state trooper murdered, then risked himself to avenge the death. A convenience store clerk dressed the killer's wounds to save her own life.


CarrMay 21, 1998

Killer had key to handcuffs Officers searched Carr. They never discovered the handcuff key he would later say he wore on a chain around his neck.

Howard Troxler:
Many faces could mask a killer's potential

Carr stayed free by staying invisible

Outpouring of support is overwhelming

Survivors are offered financial aid

Trooper from small town gave life for job he loved

A grandmother grieves for the boy she raised

'Stress' teams offer comfort to officers

How could such a man have such a lethal arsenal?

An evil beyond words robs us all

Phone calls to gunman raise concerns about media's role
Hometown mourns for trooper

Killing leaves student shaken

Standoff leaves Shell in disarray

Killer's shirt gives cafe unwelcome publicity

Police in Citrus reviewing guidelines after officers' deaths

May 20, 1998

Joey BennettA child, 3 officers and gunman dead
The killing started with a rifle shot at 10 a.m. that left a 4-year-old Tampa boy dead. Before the long, bloody day was done, two veteran Tampa police detectives and a rookie highway patrol trooper were murdered and the suspect in all four deaths, a habitual felon with a love of automatic weapons, would die by his own hand.

Bell, Carr and Childers

Carr lived as he died: in violence

Made-for-TV tragedy unfolded too quickly for live reports

ChildersDetective hailed as hero, professional, friend

Among police, 'the world is paralyzed; everybody is crying'

Trooper had been on job less than year

BellDetective Bell just weeks away from 'dull' job

Caseworkers received allegations of abuse


Handcuff procedures questioned



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