Days before Anthony “Tony” Bowers died of a head injury, he said a group of men assaulted him while he was on his way to a family reunion at a Tacoma park.
Bowers, 54, did not report the July 18 attack and did not offer details to his loved ones. Lakewood police learned of the assault after Bowers died in Oregon, where he lived.
Now, detectives are asking anyone who might have seen a fight or an assault to come forward.
“Our concern is whether this is a homicide,” Lt. Chris Lawler said. “Did somebody cause an injury that killed him a few days later?”
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Bowers was in town for a family picnic at Manitou Park in Tacoma. About 3 p.m., he drove to the Walmart store on Bridgeport Way West to get food and other supplies for the get-together.
Surveillance footage from the store does not show any confrontation. Investigators said Bowers drove away from the store between 4:50 and 5 p.m.
The attack is believed to have taken place during the two-mile drive to Manitou Park on South 66th Street. Police are unsure whether Bowers stopped somewhere else or how he suffered a head injury.
Bowers sought treatment at an Oregon hospital after experiencing concussion-like symptoms. He died soon after.
At the time of the assault, Bowers was driving a teal 1996 BMW 328 convertible with Oregon license plate number 9Q8881.
Anyone who saw an assault July 18 is asked to call Detective Rey Punzalan at 253-830-5000.
Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653