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Same story: Couple fights, man kills woman, police then self

Tales from
Pioneers and Soldiers Memorial Cemetery

By Sue Hunter Weir

170th in a Series

Although half of the National Rifle Association’s members report that they own guns to protect their families, their rationale is not supported by facts. A study conducted by the Center for Disease Control found that only 16% of women are killed by strangers—more than half are killed by their husbands, lovers, ex-husbands or former boyfriends. Fifty-four percent of those women were shot. Where there was a gun in the house, a woman was five times more likely to be killed by her current or ex-partner than when there was not.

There is nothing new about domestic violence that ends with a women’s death and almost as often, the death by suicide of the person who shot her.  In fact, there is a certain sameness to these stories.  A couple fights (alcohol may be involved, though not always); the man shoots and kills (or tries to) the woman, and then kills himself.  It’s a story that is told over and over again.

FLORA ENGLE

Photo courtesy of TIM MCCALL
Of the three women historians know died from intimate partner violence and are buried at the Pioneers Cemetery, only one, Flora E. Engle, has a marker.

Flora Engle, a 36-year-old-mother of four, was shot and killed by her husband Alexander on May 22, 1916.  The couple had been fighting earlier in the evening.  Alexander left and returned with a gun.  Flora’s oldest son ran for help and an off-duty police officer responded.  The two men wrestled but Alexander got the upper hand and shot Nels C. Anderson twice.  Alexander chased his wife who had run through the backdoor of a nearby drugstore. He was waiting for her outside of the front door. He fired three shots, one of which killed her instantly.  He continued shooting: he fired 2 shots at his seven-year-old son, and once at his 12-year-old daughter, missing them both.  He barricaded himself in the family’s house.  Police arrived, surrounded the house, and entered it only after they heard Alexander fire one final shot.  Police found his five-year-old daughter clinging to her dead father.

Patrolman Nels C. Anderson died from his wounds two days later.  He was 48 years old and the father of three children.  His funeral was held at St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church. 

HAZEL LOWE

Minneapolis Pioneers and Soldiers Memorial Cemetery

Hazel Lowe’s story is a little sketchier, probably because there were no eyewitness accounts.  Hazel was shot and killed by Stanley Zamuda (aka C. E. Stanley), presumably her lover, in his room in the Gateway Hotel on Oct. 26, 1914.  Hazel was the mother of a six-year-old child. She and her husband had been separated for five years, and she was living with her brother who disapproved of Zamuda, and had threatened to tie Hazel to a chair to prevent her from meeting up with him.  Hazel slipped out and joined Zamuda at the Gateway Hotel.  Other residents of the hotel heard the couple arguing but could not tell what it was that they argued about.  Shortly afterward they heard two gunshots.  The police arrived about 10 minutes later and broke down the door.  They found Hazel lying on the floor close to the door, apparently shot as she tried to escape.  Zamuda’s body was found by the bed. 

MARGARET BOWEN

Margaret Bowen had only been married one month when her husband, Joseph Bowen, shot and killed her on March 12, 1917.  She was staying with her parents after having left her husband for the second time.  The first time that she left him was only one week after they had married.  Her mother persuaded her to go back to her husband but three weeks later Margaret left again. Joseph tracked her to her parents’ home where he kicked in the door, and dragged Margaret out into the street and shot her.  He escaped and the police organized a manhunt.  Bowen was arrested after he was caught breaking into a railroad car.  He committed suicide is his jail cell in Glenwood, Minn. 

EFFECTS ON OTHERS

The stories make no mention of what effect or consequences these murder/suicides had on others.  At least four children lost both of their parents.  Several parents lost their adult children.  Siblings lost siblings, and, undoubtedly, friends lost friends. 

These three women were by no means the only casualties of domestic violence in the cemetery.  There are undoubtedly many others.  Of the three, only Flora Engle has a marker.  She is buried in Lot 72, Block P, in the seventh row from the north. Police officer Nels C. Anderson is buried in Lakewood.

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