20 Years Ago, Memphis Police Killed the Father of the Man They Just Shot

Aug 3, 2023 1:42 pm | Virtual Jerusalem

Bizarre coincidence raises questions about motives and what really happened when Joel Bowman was gunned down Tuesday.

Memphis, Tennessee – A bizarre and tragic coincidence unfolded in Memphis on Monday when Joel Bowman, a 33-year-old man, was shot by police after allegedly attempting to enter Margolin Hebrew Academy with a gun. It was revealed that Joel Bowman was the son of Dr. Anthony Bowman, a Jewish physician who was killed by Memphis police officers exactly 20 years ago.

According to reports, on the day of the incident, Joel Bowman was attempting to enter the Orthodox Jewish school, where he had been a former student, armed with a firearm. Authorities responded promptly to the scene and confronted Bowman, resulting in critical injuries to the man who is currently hospitalized.

The details of the shooting have left the Memphis community in shock, especially considering the eerie connection to the past. Anthony Bowman’s death in May 2003 occurred when Memphis police officers shot him outside his home. A death notice published at the time requested donations to Margolin Hebrew Academy in his memory.

Friends and former classmates of Joel Bowman expressed their disbelief over the incident. Brittney Eshelman-Worch, who attended Margolin Hebrew Academy with Joel, described him as someone who would never intentionally hurt anyone and revealed that he had struggled with mental health issues for years.

The tragic events surrounding Joel Bowman’s family did not end with his father’s death. In the aftermath of Dr. Anthony Bowman’s killing, Joel’s mother, Susan, filed a legal complaint seeking compensation, stating that both she and her son experienced emotional distress and were in the “zone of danger” at the time of the incident. However, the complaint was ultimately dismissed in 2010 due to the lack of evidence supporting racial or discriminatory motivations.

Joel Bowman’s life after high school took him to Lev HaTorah, a yeshiva in Israel, and he later returned to Memphis. The city has a significant Orthodox Jewish community, and Margolin Hebrew Academy had been trying to attract new families in recent years. Bowman’s presence in the school was notable as he had been one of only two boys in his class during his time there.

In the days leading up to the shooting, Bowman’s Facebook activity seemed to intensify, sharing thoughts about mental health and even posting an image of Jews who were killed in a shooting attack in the West Bank. Just a few days before the tragic incident, he posted a picture of his father’s grave, accompanying it with an emotional and disjointed message.

The circumstances surrounding Joel Bowman’s actions and the shooting have left many wondering if the incident was justified. As the investigation unfolds, the Memphis community and the nation at large are grappling with the complexities of mental health and gun violence issues.

In the face of such a peculiar coincidence, there are no easy answers or explanations for the events that have unfolded in Memphis. For now, the focus remains on Joel Bowman’s recovery and understanding the factors that led to this tragic outcome.