Sunday, May 13, 2007

W. Bro. Grady Bozeman, Grand Senior Deacon of Grand Lodge of Georgia, killed in workplace dispute

This article was originally posted Friday morning, May 11. It has been updated and moved to the top of the stack on Saturday morning and again on Sunday afternoon.

W. Bro. Grady Bozeman, Senior Grand Deacon of the Grand Lodge of Georgia, was shot and killed Thursday afternoon in a workplace dispute in Bluffton, South Carolina, about 25 miles from Savannah, Georgia.

Bro. Bozeman was a Past Master of Pickens Star Lodge No. 220, F. & A.M., of Jasper, Georgia. He was also a member of the Scottish Rite, York Rite, and Order of the Eastern Star.

I will update this article as new information becomes available.

FINAL UPDATE Sunday 5/13 4:45 pm: I've just returned from the graveside Masonic service after the funeral of Bro. Bozeman. A large crowd, perhaps 500 or more, were at the church, and well over 200, most of them Masons, were at the grave site.

UPDATE Sunday 5/13, 9:30 am: Here's an article where they're spelling Bro. Bozeman's name correctly again, with further details about the shooting and about the shooter's private life.

UPDATE Saturday 5/12, 10 pm: The brothers of Excelsior Lodge of Milwaukee, Wisconsin have offered their condolences to the brethren of Georgia on their website, and announced "there will be a moment of silence followed by a round of knocks (with one missing to signify the loss of our brother) prior to our Fellowcraft degree on May 14."

UPDATE Saturday 5/12, 9:20 pm: I've found several more articles about the shooting that I missed yesterday because Bro. Bozeman's name was incorrectly spelled "Boseman." Here's a link to the Associated Press story, which was published on dozens of TV and newspaper websites with the incorrect spelling. Most of the versions used a headline similar to this: "Shooting that killed 3 began after gunman called 'crazy.'"

Other articles give more details. The two contractors had been feuding earlier in the day. Bro. Bozeman came to the scene to find out why a crew wasn't working. When told by Rolondo Matta that there was a problem with James Mobley, Bro. Bozeman said, "Don't worry about him — he's crazy." Mobley overheard that statement, and pulled a gun from his lunchbox and began shooting Bro. Bozeman, striking him eight times in the head and upper body, before shooting Matta six times and then himself in the head.

The weapon used was a Glock .40 caliber auto-pistol. Mobley had a concealed weapons permit.

From a report released by the sheriff's department:
Motive: Rolando Matta was the painting sub-contractor for the construction project. Mobley was an electrical sub-contractor on the site. Earlier in the day Matta and Mobley had a disagreement over access to perform their specific jobs. Boseman, the general contractor, arrived on the site and questioned why Matta and his crew were sitting idle. When Matta explained his inactivity Boseman made the statement: “Don’t worry about him, he’s crazy.”

Mobley heard the comment, began angry and produced a weapon from his lunch pail and confronted Boseman first, shooting him and then turning the weapon on Matta. He then retreated to the corner of the building where he turned the weapon on himself. Mobley did possess a current concealed weapons permit from SLED.
The police report seems to be the source of the misspelled name.

More articles:UPDATE Saturday 5/12, 11:10 am: Bro. Bozeman's body is en route from South Carolina to Jasper, Georgia. Visitation will commence at 6 pm Saturday at Cagle Funeral Home [directions] in downtown Jasper, Georgia.

His funeral will be held at 2 pm Sunday, May 13, at Mt. Zion Baptist Church [map] in Jasper, on Old Highway 5 (Talking Rock Road) not far from Pickens Star Lodge.

UPDATE Friday 5/11, 8:20 pm: Within the past hour WTOC-TV in Savannah filed two new stories about the event. The first article, by Liz Flynn, cited Bro. Bozeman's Masonic ties and quoted Georgia Past Grand Master M. W. Bro. Clyde Griffin. There is also a newscast video that can be linked to from the news article (small link is just above Bro. Bozeman's photo).

The second article, by Jaime Dailey, deals more with the events surrounding the killing, and reports that Bro. Bozeman stepped between the two fighting men and said to Rolando Matta, one of the subcontractors, "Don't worry about him, he's crazy!", referring to James Mobley. Mobley then pulled a handgun from his lunchbox and shot Bro. Bozeman eight times, and then shot Matta several times. He then went into a corner and turned the gun on himself. Mobley fired a total of 17 rounds.

Original news articles Friday morning:Image: Grand Senior Deacon W. Bro. Grady Bozeman

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  1. Friends and Brethren, the roll of the workmen has been called and one
    Master Mason has not answered to his name. He has laid down the working tools of the
    Craft and with them he has left that mortal part for which he no longer has use. His labors
    here below have taught him to divest his heart and conscience of the vices and superfluities
    of life, thereby fitting his soul as a living stone for that spiritual building, that house not
    made with hands, eternal in the heavens. In reverence then, let us lift our prayer to the
    Divine Being to insure the favor of that Eternal God.

    My sympathies to his family, friends and the Brothers dear to him.

    Traveling Man

  2. So a racist Grand Lodge needs a new Grand Deacon... It happens

  3. It figures that some anonymous asshat would post such a cowardly and unmasonic comment.

  4. I didn't know Bro. Bozeman very well but like all men he had his strengths and weaknesses. His death is all the more a tragedy because of the way in which it happened: He was trying to resolve the differences between two men who were at odds with one another. To try and create Peace and Harmony among men is one of the greatest teachings of Freemasonry. Bro. Bozeman died while doing what Masons do. We should never forget the example he has set for us as individuals and the greater brotherhood of Freemasons everywhere.

  5. Brother Bozeman was a good man and a friend to all men, even if meeting you for the first time. RIP Brother Bozeman. And Jeff, nicely said.

  6. What a tragedy. My prayers and thoughts are with the Bozeman family.

  7. Did not know Grady well but worked on a job with him and he was a real person with his own qualities that made him different. i heard about this incident at Savannah in a pre const. meeting and i couldnt believe it. my prayers go out to his Sean and JT and the rest of his family.

    1. Thank you very much. It means alot Grady was my Grandpa/Poppy. we were very close.
      And Sean is my Daddy,J.T. is my Big Brother and thank you for Praying. This year it will make eight years.

  8. As A blogger and Mason family I turned over my blog page for the evening to my husband, master of the Trentham lodge number 130 in Victoria Australia to infact read this very sad post of yours.

    May this master mason now walk with those who have laid down their tools before him, may he find eternal peace beside them and may we send our sincere sympathies to his family his brothers and sister together.

    Master Rob and sister Lee-ann


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