BAMBERG — Residents of Da’Quan Bowers’ hometown say they’re hopeful a gun charge against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end won’t tarnish his NFL career.
“He’s an excellent football player, but it just depends on the demeanor of his bosses in the Buccaneers’ organization. Now, the country is sensitized to guns and gun control. ... It’s probably the worst time that this could happen,” Bamberg resident Joel W. Hand Jr. said Tuesday.
“So he’s going to be penalized just because of the timing, and that’s not his fault. I’m all for people having guns for protection, but he should have known better than going to an airport with one. That’s pretty elementary,” Hand said.
Bowers was arraigned Monday on charges of criminal possession of a weapon and posted $10,000 bond.
The New York Post reported he was arrested at LaGuardia Airport after he allegedly approached the ticket counter and told airline employees he had a .40-caliber Smith & Wesson pistol in his carry-on bag. Also in the bag with the pistol was a clip with eight rounds, reportedly making it a loaded weapon under New York law.
Everyone makes mistakes, Hand said. “I certainly have made my share — sometimes several at a time. So I’m not going to point any fingers or judge. I am hopeful that the people who are looking at it will not be swayed by unnecessary attention that is coming at this time with all of the shootings that are going on. It’s really a terrible time.”
Christine Joyner of Bamberg, who noted Bowers went to school with her granddaughter, said, “He left the gun in his bag, but we never know what’s going on. Maybe if he had put the gun in one place and the ammunition in another place, he might have gotten by with it.”
Bowers makes mistakes like everyone else, she said.
Joyner said, “If he let them know he had the gun, it’s not like he was hiding it. Everybody seems to carry guns, though. I don’t understand it. When some people know you got money ... he (Bowers) might have wanted to protect himself.
“You never know. It’s up to a judge with whatever he wants to do with it. It’s not up to us. Everyone is allowed to make one mistake, and he’s a young boy. Young children do stupid stuff sometimes.”
Bamberg resident Hattie Gordon hopes the arrest won’t hurt Bowers’ career.
“I know he’s young. I hope that it doesn’t spoil his reputation,” she said. “Even if they do put it on his arrest record, I hope it doesn’t stay on there.”
While Bamberg resident Wilbur Geddings initially said Bowers should have known better and should get what he deserves, his tone softened as he continued to talk.
“I hope he can get himself straightened out, and maybe this will tell him something. I hate to see a young boy get his life ruined over a stupid thing like this here,” Geddings said. “It’s one of those things.”
He noted he doesn’t know why Bowers may have had a gun with him.
“We’ll pray for him,” Geddings said.
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