Aspiring writer/rapper Justin Bowman was a ‘great father’ who told ‘his life and his story through the pen’

Homicide Watch Chicago

When Alexandria Batie looks at her three-year-old son, she sees his father, Justin T. Bowman. “His son is the spitting image of him,” said Batie, Bowman’s fiancée. Her son also shares Bowman’s childhood love of Spider-Man.

Alexandria Batie and Justin Bowman/Family photo

Alexandria Batie and Justin Bowman/Family photo

Bowman was shot to death on April 24, 2016, in the Logan Square neighborhood on the Northwest Side.

Police were called to a report of gunshots at 6:23 p.m. in the 3600 block of West Schubert, and found the 25-year-old lying on a sidewalk with a gunshot wound to the chest, according to Chicago Police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Bowman was taken to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 7:07 p.m., authorities said. He lived not far away in the same neighborhood.

Alfredo Ramos was charged with first-degree murder for allegedly shooting Bowman, and is being held in the Cook County Jail without bond. His next court appearance is Feb. 24, according to the Cook County sheriff’s office.

Bowman was walking with a group about 6:15 p.m. when Ramos got out of a car and opened fire, hitting Bowman in the chest, authorities allege.

Bowman was wearing headphones and was not wearing his glasses, so he would not have known right away that someone was shooting, Batie and his mother, Wanda Bowman, said. The women said they did not know who Ramos was before the shooting.

Some of Bowman’s friends had gang ties, Batie said, but Bowman did not.

He attended Carl Schurz High School, and received a degree in child psychology from Lake Land College.

Justin Bowman with his son Elijah Tyree Bowman, third photo from left/Family photos

Justin Bowman with his son Elijah Tyree Bowman, third photo from left/Family photos

Batie met Bowman, also known as “True” or “Jroc,” 11 years ago on her back porch. They both lived in Logan Square their entire lives, and whenever either of them moved, they would be within walking distance of the other’s house, Batie said. The couple had a son, Elijah, and a daughter, Zion, with whom Batie was pregnant when Bowman was killed. They had plans to get married.

“He was a great father,” Batie said. He liked to gather his other friends and their children and all go to the park, “[doing] backflips over them, [playing] with them, [chasing] them through the park and field and … [taking] them to the store,” she said. If Bowman bought his son something while the other kids were there, he made sure to get them something, too.

“All [Justin] ever talked about was being with his son,” Wanda Bowman said. He talked to Elijah constantly, saying, “‘He understands me, Momma, you just don’t know’,” she said.

Justin Bowman with Elijah.

Justin Bowman with Elijah.

Bowman was a prolific writer and aspiring rapper, filling journal after journal with songs inspired by the events of his life, including duets to sing with Batie.

He also wrote poetry and was working on an “urban novel,” Batie said. The book had to do with “stuff that … young adults our age go through. With love, relationships, family ties, friends, enemies, all that.”

“He would tell his life and his story through the pen,” Batie said.

“[Ramos] took a father, a friend—like that was my best friend. He really messed us up. My son still asks for him every single day, and I gotta explain to him, he’s in heaven, and my son cries, because he’s like,…’How come he doesn’t come see me, he doesn’t love me no more?’”

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