Alex Bowers was shooting a clip at McCoy Park in North Portland when a sudden shootout killed him.
The circumstances of the October 8 murder remain unclear. Police have released little information and family members are unsure why Bowers, 32, was shot dead.
“You don’t want to treat it; it’s too hard to deal with, ”her mother Mary Lindley told The Oregonian / OregonLive.
Bowers’ death marked the city’s 69th homicide of the year, the highest total since 1987, when a record 70 people were killed.
It was also the second tragic death to strike his family in the past four years, as Steven Bowers, his younger brother, was found dead in the Willamette River in April 2018. He was suspected to have drowned, said Lindley, but her family still doesn’t know what happened to her.
The brothers were close, and the elder Bowers often wore a necklace containing his brother’s ashes. Their mother placed the necklace in her eldest son’s urn after it was cremated.
The shooting that killed Alex Bowers dispersed his crowd of friends in McCoy Park, and witnesses saw a man steal several of Bowers’ personal items, including his wallet, phone, car keys and gold necklaces, said his girlfriend Melissa Koznek.
Koznek, 30, was shocked when she heard about the theft.
“I can’t imagine another human being doing that to another human being who is dead or dying,” she said.
Bowers was a generous, outgoing, generous man – the kind of person who would pay for a friend’s lunch if he didn’t have the money, Koznek said. He was always ready to help a friend “move forward to a place where they could achieve their dreams,” Koznek said.
Bowers often gave food to people in need outside of his apartment, bringing them extras from his homemade dinners, said Lindley, 52.
These kinds of acts were the norm for Bowers, whose Sunday funeral service drew large crowds of friends and family.
“If we were just standing in line at the grocery store, he’s talking to the person in front of us, he’s talking to the person behind us,” Lindley said. “Just a very nice person.”
Bowers was born in Portland and graduated from Oregon City High School. At the time, he was a “great gamer” and traveled the country playing video games like Halo competitively, his mother said.
He was married for a few years and separated from his wife two or three years ago.
He started seeing Koznek about a year ago, she said, and recently moved into an apartment in downtown Portland to care for his father, who has a disability.
Bowers was in fashion, “liked to present himself very well” and liked to collect things like gold necklaces and limited edition sneakers, Koznek said. He also bought and sold clothes for profit.
He and his fluffy little terrier mix, Mowgli, were inseparable.
“Mowgli never left without Alex,” Koznek said. “Alex always kept him on his knees, like he always did. It was two peas in a pod.
He was also devoted to his family and never missed Christmas, Thanksgiving, or family member’s birthdays.
“He has two nieces and a nephew who, sadly, will never really know who he is,” Lindley said.
– Jaimie Ding
[email protected]; 503-221-4395; @j_dingdingding