DC firefighter found guilty of running down man to death out of revenge

ROCKVILLE, Md. — A D.C. firefighter was found guilty by a jury in Prince George’s County of second-degree murder in what prosecutors called a case of vigilante justice.

Gregory Bowyer Jr., 48, was accused of running over Nathaniel McKinnon, 21, in an Upper Marlboro parking lot on Feb. 13, 2017. McKinnon died of his injuries. Bowyer wanted to get revenge for his daughter, who prosecutors said was involved in an altercation with McKinnon.

“We understand the motivations, but they’re not legally justified,” said Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy, whose office prosecuted the case due to a conflict of interest in Prince George’s County.

According to prosecutors, Bowyer’s daughter and McKinnon were involved in an altercation on Feb. 12, 2017, the night before McKinnon was killed. The next morning, investigators said Bowyer, with his daughter in the car, set out to find McKinnon. Bowyer spotted McKinnon traveling with his mother, Sheraina Park-Jones.

According to Park-Jones, McKinnon got out of the car to check on Bowyer’s daughter. Shortly after, he was struck by Bowyer in the parking lot of a shopping center on Brown Station Road.

“It’s been a very awful struggle to watch this and see your child murdered and ran over,” said Park-Jones.

Bowyer told police that he acted in self-defense because McKinnon was armed with a rifle, which police found. But, after seeing surveillance footage from the shopping center that caught the incident and hearing from witnesses, including McKinnon’s mother, the jury found Bowyer guilty.

WTOP has reached out to Bowyer’s attorney for comment.

“If there’s a lesson, call the police, let the authorities get involved in it. This was no way to handle this matter,” McCarthy said.

Bowyer remains on unpaid leave with the D.C. fire department, but spokesman Doug Buchanan said after a felony conviction, a process will take place to separate an employee from the department.

Bowyer faces 40 years in prison when he is sentenced in December.

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