More than forty years after the death of Sergeant Donald Sowma, the Cypress Police Department continues to honor the memory of its only officer to be killed in the line of duty.
While responding to a silent burglar alarm call in the early morning hours of November 19, 1976, Sgt. Sowma – who was the shift supervisor – was shot once by Bobby Joe Denney, who was hiding inside an art gallery next to the medical clinic he had been attempting to burglarize for drugs and money.
Donald Sowma was 44 years old when he died. A street near the Cypress Civic Center is named in his memory.
Bobby Joe Denney, then 32 years old, was arrested, convicted, and sentenced to life in prison. Each time he comes up for parole, the Cypress Police Department dispatches officers to peacefully protest. Denney was denied parole in 2016 and will next be eligible in 2021, forty-five years after the crime.
Each year around the anniversary of Sgt. Sowma’s death, the Department holds a memorial service at the Cypress Police Memorial outside the station.
Those wishing to show their support to the Cypress Police Department may donate through the Cypress Police Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit group.