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Ex-teacher charged with killing 2 in Dallas suburb

Updated 7:58 p.m. ET

DALLAS Authorities have charged a former teacher and Dallas Mavericks entertainer with capital murder in the fatal shootings of his estranged wife and her daughter.

Police said in a statement Thursday that 44-year-old Erbie Bowser was arrested Wednesday night at the shooting scene in the Dallas suburb of DeSoto.

Killed in the DeSoto shootings were Bowser's 47-year-old estranged wife, Zina Bowser, and her 28-year-old daughter, Neima Williams.

Also shot and wounded were two boys, ages 13 and 11, were hospitalized in critical condition after the Wednesday night shootings.

Police say the shootings capped a bloody night that began with shootings at a house in southwest Dallas about 15 minutes earlier in which a woman and her daughter were killed and the woman's son and a family friend were wounded. Dallas police said they were expecting to file two additional capital murder counts against Bowser in that attack.

Bowser identified himself on his Facebook page as a former Dallas Mavericks dancer, CBS Dallas station KTVT-TV reports. Bowser was arrested at the second crime scene in DeSoto, Texas, outside Dallas. Family members said that Bowser was looking for his ex-girlfriend at both of the houses.

The first shooting happened around 10:30 p.m. at a Dallas home. Police say 43-year-old Toya Smith and her 17-year-old daughter Tasmia Allen were shot and killed. Smith's 14-year-old son and a 17-year-old female family friend were injured.

Just before the shooting at the Dallas home, the family friend had been talking to her mom on the phone, the police said. When that conversation ended, the mother became concerned and called back to check on her daughter. After there was no answer, she drove to the location, found the victims and called 911.

By then, the gunman then had moved about 7 miles to another home in DeSoto. There, at around 10:45 p.m., he tossed what police believe may be some type of explosive device into the home, police told KTVT-TV, before opening fire again.

Russ Morrison, spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said Bowser used an explosive device in the home that didn't injure anyone.

Carolyn Webb, left, sits with Sonya Ellington near the house where their friend was killed in a fatal multiple shooting Aug. 8, 2013, in DeSoto, Texas.
Carolyn Webb, left, sits with Sonya Ellington near the house where their friend was killed in a fatal multiple shooting Aug. 8, 2013, in DeSoto, Texas. AP Photo

Another two women were killed, and two boys - an 11-year-old and a 13-year-old - were wounded, DeSoto police Cpl. Melissa Franks said

Neighbors of the DeSoto home described the loud boom from the explosive device.

"We thought it was coming from upstairs because the kids are always upstairs making noise," said Tommy Johnson. "I went up and asked, 'Did y'all hear anything?' and one of my daughters said it came from outside, so I peeped out the front, and that's when I saw a bunch of officers walking down the sidewalk about 10 houses up."

Carolyn Webb, a friend of the DeSoto victims, said Zina Bowser was in the process of divorcing her estranged husband. "He just tore so many hearts," Webb said.

Franks said police took Bowser into custody without incident at the house where the second shooting occurred.

Victims that survived the Dallas shooting were taken to Parkland Hospital and Methodist Dallas Medical Center. Their conditions are not known.

The Dallas Mavericks said Thursday that Bowser performed from 2002 to 2009 with its Dallas Mavs ManiAACs, which the NBA team describes as dance troupe made up of "beefy men" who entertain fans during games. Bowser is 6-foot-7-inches tall and weighs 355 pounds, according to court records.

Bowser worked for nearly a decade as a special education teacher in the Dallas suburb of Mesquite. School district spokeswoman Laura Jobe said Thursday he resigned in 2010 "on good terms." He also worked for a couple of seasons as a football coach at West Mesquite High School, she said.

Bowser served as a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army from October 1991 to November 2000. The U.S. Army media relations department said he served in the infantry at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii and at Fort Drum in New York. He was never deployed overseas. The Army said it does not release information about whether a soldier is honorably or dishonorably discharged.

Bowser has had several previous brushes with the law, including most recently an arrest for violating a protective order, though the charges appear to have been dismissed. In 2011, Bowser was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, though the outcome of that case is unclear. The only convictions he has are from charges in 1989 for evading arrest and an alcohol related incident — both on the same date.

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