Dowling's 23-year-old son, DaQuan Dowling, was the man inside the white Ford that was the target of multiple gunshots as it drove northbound on busy Route 29 not far from the N.J. Capitol dome.
It happened at about 6:25 p.m. Monday. That's when police were alerted to multiple shots fired, possibly car-to-car.
A number of bullet casings were left scattered on the roadway.
The bizzare shoot 'em up triggered multiple fender benders on Route 29. But Dowling was the only gunshot victim.
As of Tuesday afternoon, authorities had not said if this was road rage, or some kind of targeted high speed hit. Nor have they said whether Dowling was driving or if he was a passenger in the car.
Dowling's mother thinks it was a case of mistaken identity. She said she understands the car had dark tinted windows.
"I think the person that made the mistake, who shot my baby, if he had known that he had shot my baby, he would have turned around," Dowling said.
Two of DaQuan Dowling's friends were killed in homicides last year, but his mother does not think there's any connection.
Dowling was a standout basketball player at Emily Fisher Charter School in Trenton, and for a time had attended West Virginia State University.
Route 29 northbound was closed because of the investigation Monday night into Tuesday between Warren and Calhoun Streets. It was reopened by late Tuesday morning.