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Officer Cecil Scott Bowman
(May 8, 1878 June 8, 1911)


Officer Cecil Bowman, 33, was an imposing figure as he walked his beat along the rail yards and industrial district east of downtown Los Angeles. He was 6-foot-3 and "admirably proportioned," according to the Los Angeles Times, "a picture of virile manhood."

On Thursday, June 8, 1911, Bowman arrived for work from his home on East 32nd Street, then headed out to begin his shift at 6:30 p.m. In addition to patrolling the neighborhood, one of the duties of the beat cops was to check in with police headquarters at certain times from call boxes. At 8:30 p.m., Bowman was scheduled to check in from a call box at the corner of Macy (now Cesar Chavez Avenue) and Keller streets, just west of the river and east of the current location of Union Station.

Shortly before 8:30 p.m., and about 90 minutes after sunset, Bowman was walking east on Macy toward the call box, approaching the Santa Fe tracks, while a street car was heading west. Meanwhile, a switch engine -- a small locomotive used in rail yards to move cars around -- was heading south toward Macy, pulling seven freight cars.

Bowman apparently didn't hear the engine moving toward him, and the passing street car blocked his view. The switch engine barely missed hitting the rear of the street car just as Bowman stepped onto the tracks. The two workers in the switch engine didn't see Bowman on the tracks until it was too late to stop.

Bowman's legs were cut off close to his body, which was then dragged about 250 feet down the track, crushed and mangled under the wheels of the passing switch engine and rail cars. Bowman was 33 years old, and had just celebrated his second anniversary with the LAPD.

Bowman was the sixth LAPD officer to die in the line of duty, and the second of four to be killed in 1911 -- Arthur Crusey was shot to death in May, less than two weeks before Bowmans death; James Wylie was struck and killed by an automobile in November; and Floyd Eiler was shot to death in December.

Cecil Scott Bowman was born May 8, 1878, in Augusta, Maine, where his father operated a hotel. His parents divorced shortly after he was born, and he stayed with his father, eventually working as a clerk at his father's hotel. On Christmas Eve 1901, Bowman married Mary Fletcher, 30, a widow with an 11-year-old son.

In about 1906, Bowman's father, Francis "Frank" Bowman, retired from the hotel business, and the entire family moved to Los Angeles -- Bowman and his wife, Mary; his step-son, Percy; his father; and his step-mother, Henrietta. The entire extended family lived at 1000 East 32nd St.

After arriving in Los Angeles, Bowman first found work with the Merchants' Fire Dispatch, a private security company, then as an agent with the Pinkerton Detective Agency in Arcadia, California. He joined the LAPD on June 3, 1909.

Bowman's funeral services were held at the Bowman family home on East 32nd Street. After the service, Bowman's body was taken to a temporary vault at Rosedale Cemetery until it could be transported back to his hometown of Augusta, Maine, where he was buried in the family plot in Mount Pleasant Cemetery.

Bowman's father, Francis, died in Los Angeles in 1916, at the age of 65. He is also buried in the Bowman family plot in Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Augusta, Maine. Bowman's widow, Mary, remained at the family home on East 32nd Street until she died on Dec. 9, 1948. His step-son, Percy, died on Feb. 11, 1923, at the age of 32.

Bowman's sign is located on the north side of Cesar Chavez Avenue, west of Mission Road, in the middle of the bridge over the Los Angeles River.



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