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'I would like to say that I deeply apologize'

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 30, 1998

Here is the text of a hand-written statement given to the Times by Bernice Bowen. It was dictated by Bowen to her sister, Rose Hayes.

I would like to say that I deeply apologize about the circumstances that have taken place over the past week. I feel sorrow for (not only the loss of my son) but for the lives of the police officers. They were so viciously ripped away from them and their families. I can only hope that their families will be able to recover from this terrible tragedy. May God bless them all.

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As everyone is already aware of, I too lost both my children. My son whom I will never see again, never kiss, never touch and never hold. My daughter who has just been through a very traumatic event is with strangers and not with her family, where she needs to be. This affects me more than people could ever realize. Until now I have kept silent because of the advice of legal (counsel).

But I can no longer allow people to tear me down and look at me through vengeful eyes. I have suffered a tremendous amount of criticism because of the fact that I allegedly kept my "boyfriend's" identity silent at the time of my son's death. I was so consumed by the terrible tragedy that had just taken place.

I had no time to tell the police of his identity. I not only did not know of this man's criminal background, but I also feared his strength.

My mind was not on him and I'm sorry about that. My son had just been shot in the head. My thoughts were completely focused on him.

I was not aware of Hank's background. Nor was I about to ask questions. He was physically and mentally abusive toward me. Why he never hurt my children, I will never know. I myself am not clear on the events that took place that terrifying morning in my apartment. It makes me sick to even think about them.

I have no clue as to why I stayed with Hank Carr, maybe it was fear for my life. There are no known words to express the pain and confusion I am going through.

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