Slain man mourned; suspect still on run

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 30, 2011

By Nathan Hardin
SALISBURY — Authorities were still searching for a suspect Wednesday night after police say he shot and killed a Salisbury man in his ex-girlfriend’s Mildred Avenue home.
Salisbury Police said they found the white passenger vehicle that 20-year-old Terrell Jamal Bowman fled from the home in Tuesday evening and a handgun that officers believe is the weapon used in the slaying of 32-year-old Dwante Patterson.
Police issued warrants for Bowman’s arrest Tuesday evening. Officers said Bowman shot Patterson in the back at 421 Mildred Avenue about 5 p.m.
Wendy Lilly, who lives at the Mildred Avenue home, told the Post on Wednesday that she couldn’t believe Bowman, who she dated for about 10 months, shot the father of three of her children.
Lilly said she had broken up with Bowman about a week ago after he assaulted her 16-year-old daughter.
Lilly said Bowman came to the home Tuesday afternoon to get something and while he was there, Patterson came by to drop off money for a babysitter.
“Terrell felt like that was his house and he didn’t have to leave until he got ready to leave,” Lilly said, “and I was just trying to keep everything calm so he wouldn’t flip out on me or try to hurt me or my kids again.”
But things got heated at the home when Patterson told Bowman not to touch his kids, Lilly said, citing the previous week’s incident.
According to Lilly, she tried to file a 50-B domestic violence protective order against Bowman at the courthouse last week, but couldn’t because she didn’t have an address for him.
“We went down there to file a 50-B at the courthouse. We didn’t have another address for him outside of my home,” she said.
Lilly said she was instructed to go to the Sheriff’s Office, where she was then told it was a Salisbury Police matter because Lilly lives within city limits.
“But we didn’t do that at the time because there was a lot going on,” said Lilly’s friend, who didn’t want to be identified. She was with Lilly at the courthouse and spoke to the Post in an interview Wednesday. “If the 50-B would have been actually taken out, maybe he would have been more likely to stay away.”
Clerk of Court Jeff Barger declined to comment on the specific situation Wednesday night until he said he has seen paperwork regarding Lilly’s claim.
According to the General Assembly’s statute on a 50-B, an address is necessary because it “requires that a summons be issued and served.”
• • •
Just before 8 a.m. Wednesday, a Fulton Heights man went to walk his dog when he saw something in the grass.
“I thought it was a cap gun,” said the man, who did not want to be identified. “It was rusty. It looked like a toy.”
But when he picked it up, the man realized it was a small rusty revolver with tape around the handle.
The man said he first thought, “I can’t leave this out here.”
He called Salisbury Police and was told an officer would come to the home.
The man, who wasn’t aware of the Mildred Avenue shooting, said he knew it was something serious when additional officers and investigators arrived soon after.
“I was just really shocked,” he said.
Salisbury Police have not said where the handgun and vehicle were found.
• • •
On Tuesday evening, Lilly, Patterson and their two sons pulled up at Curt and Geri’s Dairy Bar on South Main Street in a neighbor’s blood-soaked van.
The neighbor was driving them to the hospital after the shooting when they spotted a Salisbury Police officer making a call in the store’s parking lot.
Patterson was hit once in the back and had fled outside the home and ran around a neighbor’s house, Lilly said.
Nautica Patterson, Lilly’s 12-year-old son, told the Post Tuesday night that Bowman was holding a revolver as he chased Patterson outside and shot until the gun was empty.
“He shot until the clip ran out,” Nautica said of Bowman. “He only hit my dad once. I think he hit that house over there, ’cause sparks came out.”
Before collapsing in Lilly’s lap in the van, she said he looked up and told her, “I can’t believe this, Wendy.”
Patterson was taken by ambulance to Rowan Regional Medical Center. He was pronounced dead about 6:15 p.m.
• • •
Lilly, who was staying at a friend’s house Wednesday, said she’s worried about the safety of her children since no arrest has been made.
“He has nothing to lose now,” she said of Bowman.
The 38-year-old mother of six said she’s been trying to get family members on the phone since she got the news of Patterson’s death.
“Now we’re just sitting and waiting to see what’s going to happen next,” Lilly said. “I’m trying to keep my boys occupied, so they don’t think about it, but it’s hard because they keep looking at me and want to know why I’m crying.”
Lilly said Patterson was a great father and often spent time fishing with his children near High Rock Lake off Goodman Lake Road.
“He was a good daddy. He loved his kids,” she said, “and not just my three, he has a lot of kids.”
According to Lilly, Patterson was the biological father of 13 children that she knew about.
Lilly said Bowman spoke to two of her children as he fled from the Mildred Avenue home Tuesday evening.
“Yesterday, my girls called me and told me whenever they took off running when they heard the shots, Terrell was running up the street behind them,” Lilly said, “and he told them, ‘I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to. I love y’all. I gotta go.’ ”
Lilly, who spent eight years with Patterson, said the man who shot her kids’ father took something special from her life and their lives.
“I’m disappointed, confused and I have a lot of hatred in my heart, because he took something that I can never replace,” Lilly said, crying.
“Despite that, me and Dwante hadn’t been together in 10 or 11 years, I will always love Dwante. I spent a whole lot of my time with him. Dwante was always in my heart. I just can’t understand it.”
Authorities ask anyone with information about Bowman to call the Salisbury Police Department at 704-638-5333 or Crime Stoppers at 1-866-639-5245.