Senior squashes carjacking

Christopher Lee Bowens
Sunday Times Newspapers

LINCOLN PARK — An attempted car-jacking was halted by an 81-year-old Korean War veteran, and ended with felony charges and a possible life sentence for a 39-year-old parolee.

Christopher Lee Bowens was arraigned Tuesday before 25th District Court Judge David Bajorek on two counts of carjacking. With prior state and federal weapons and burglary convictions, Bowens potentially faces life in prison if convicted.

Police responded to reports of an armed robber last seen at the Mobil gas station at the intersection of Fort and Goddard streets. Responding officers followed reports of the man running along Ecorse Creek between Harrison and Goddard. Two patrol units followed the trail and cornered Bowens near where Ferris Street dead-ends at the Creek.

Bowens surrendered without resistance, and told police he threw the knife in the creek.

At the Mobil station, three witnesses told police that Bowens attempted to car-jack a 2012 Ford Fusion driven by 81-year-old Korean War veteran Barney Trusewicz. When Trusewicz, Bowens allegedly entered the vehicle, in which 78-year-old Constance Trusewicz was seated.

“Get out of the car,” Bowens allegedly said, holding a knife said to be 12 inches long against Constance’s throat. “I’m taking your vehicle.”

At that moment, Trusewicz returned, and grabbed Bowens’ arm with one hand while turning off the ignition with the other. Following a short scuffle, Bowens left the car and ran towards Fort Street.

Three witnesses provided statements to the police, of seeing Bowens loitering near the store, described as “creepy looking, full of tattoos, and … up to something.” All three witnesses identified Bowens to investigators as the man who attempted to, “car jack that old lady.”

Bowens is heavily tattooed, an assortment that includes an old English “D” on his cheek, words and numbers and a design covering his scalp.

The Michigan Offender Tracking Information System identified Bowens as having additional tattoos on his back, chest, biceps, hands, shoulders and legs.

Bowens was paroled in December 2011 and was living in a halfway house on Goddard Road at the time of his arrest last week. His criminal record dates back to weapons charges in 2000, along with a conviction for breaking and entering.

Following the arrest of Bowens, Barney and Constance appeared on several television news reports, describing a frightening encounter and Trusewicz’s common-sense bravery.

“He said, ‘Get out of the car,’” Constance said.”I saw all these tattoos and I thought, ‘Oh crap.’”

Barney Trusewicz said he wanted a peaceful resolution when he grabbed the arm that held a knife, and said ‘okay’ when Bowens gave up the car-jacking and left the scene.

Bowens was taken into custody and arraigned Tuesday; he remains in Wayne County Jail, held without bond as a habitual offender, and awaits a preliminary examination of the evidence scheduled for Tuesday, April 10.

Constance Truscewicz reportedly extended her sympathies to Bowens’ family: The suspect’s father, James Bowen, chairs the Lincoln Park Public Safety Commission; his brother, Matt, was a Detroit Police officer killed in 2004 in the line of duty.

(James Mitchell can be reached at