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Widow lashes out
at Carr's girlfriend


© St. Petersburg Times, published May 28, 1998

TAMPA -- Vickie Childers, widow of a Tampa police detective slain last week, isn't mincing words about the girlfriend of the man who shot her husband and his partner at point-blank range.

"I probably shouldn't say this on camera," Mrs. Childers said while standing near a police memorial as TV cameras rolled.


[Times photo: Dirk Shadd]

"I really hope she's not sleeping well at night because she had the information in her hands to stop this and she didn't
do it . . . "

--Vickie Childers (above) widow of slain detective Ricky J. Childers, speaking out about the girlfriend of Hank Carr, Bernice Bowen


[Times photo: Tony Lopez]

"But the only thing that I feel is the lady that held back information that caused this to happen to our husbands, I really hope she's not sleeping well at night because she had the information in her hands to stop this and she didn't do it, and that's the one thing that I would like every citizen in this city to know."

Her comments came during a somber ceremony Wednesday morning to etch the names of her husband, Ricky J. Childers, and his partner, Randy S. Bell, into the memorial's black granite, joining the names of 22 other fallen Tampa officers.

The two detectives were shot and killed by Hank Carr while taking him to the police station for questioning in the death of a 4-year-old boy.

Bernice Bowen, the boy's mother and Carr's girlfriend, never told the detectives that Carr had a violent past and had given them a false identity. Police are considering criminal obstruction charges against Bowen.

Mrs. Childers joined Donna Bell, the widow of Randy Bell, at the ceremony Wednesday. They wore black and spoke briefly to reporters. It was their first public comment.

They emphasized their gratitude to the Police Department and the community that has rallied around them and continues to leave bouquets by the bunches at the memorial.

Mrs. Childers also took the opportunity to urge residents not to be stingy with Police Department financing, saying "you can't give them enough equipment and enough guns to protect our police officers."

And she asked residents to do their part in helping officers stay clear of harm's way.

"I just hope . . . that the community will stand behind them and say these officers are ours and we're going to take care of them because they're taking care of us."

When a reporter asked Childers if the dreadful incident had given rise to any good, the answer was plainly no.

"My husband was the finest man I've ever known," Childers said. "He was my best friend, he was my life, and I can't find anything good to come from this."
-- Staff writer Paul Wilborn contributed to this report.

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