Torrance police detectives Sunday were continuing to work to identify a suspect or suspects in a shooting at a bowling alley that left three people dead and four others injured.
A brawl broke out at the Gable House Bowl shortly before midnight Friday as people were celebrating birthdays and friends convened to unwind after the first week of the new year.
It’s unclear what prompted the melee, but Torrance police Sgt. Ronald Harris told The Times on Sunday that the primary focus is for detectives to identify a suspect in the shooting.
“My goal is to meet with detectives later this evening to see if there’s anything we can release or put out,” he said. “They have been working around the clock since this incident.”
The victims included Robert Meekins and Astin Edwards, both 28, who were best friends. A third victim, Michael Radford, 20, also died at the scene. Two other men were injured and taken to a hospital, while two others sought medical attention on their own.
Friends and family members of the victims held a candlelight vigil Saturday night in the parking lot of the bowling alley. On Sunday morning, dozens of candles, many still burning, were placed near the entrance of the bowling alley, some depicting la Virgen de Guadalupe or Jesus Christ on the cross. Seven balloons swayed in the light breeze, marked with the words, “You’re so special.”
Tony Akins, 34, walked up to the memorial and bowed his head, making the sign of the cross. He lives near the bowling alley but has never been inside.
“I was shocked because I would never expect something like this to happen here, in my city,” he said. “It shouldn’t have led to that.”
Video on social media and interviews show a chaotic scene after the fight broke out inside the bowling alley. Several women were fighting and rolling on the floor, according to witness Dana Scott.
“Security came up and next thing we know there were men fighting,” Scott told ABC7. “All we heard was pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop."
In one video posted on social media, a man wearing a “Security” jacket can be seen attempting to break up the brawl, which involved at least a dozen men. Later he appears to use pepper spray. The video also shows a woman sitting over a man with gunshot wounds and sobbing.
On Sunday, a sign with a message to visitors was taped to the front door of the bowling alley.
“Gable House Bowl has been a member of the Torrance community for over 50 years,” it read. “We have always valued our relationship with our customers and are saddened by the events that transpired last night. Gable House’s thoughts and prayers go out to the victims, their family members and everyone affected by this senseless tragedy.”
Inside, it was business as usual. A mom played an arcade game called Crank It with her young son. People strolled in carrying bowling bags.
Roseann Imbro, 75, discussed the shooting with friends as they finished practicing for their senior league.
Imbro said she’d gone to the 7 a.m. Mass at the nearby St. Lawrence Martyr Catholic Church, where the congregation prayed for victims of the shooting. She frequents the bowling alley several times a week.
“We’re a community,” she said. “It’s nothing like what went on [the other] night here.”
She said she’s never felt unsafe at Gable House.
“I’m sad for the parents,” she said. “Poor families. And it was probably over a stupid thing.”
Gable House, with its distinctive blue sloping roof, opened in 1960 and has been a popular nightspot in the quiet suburb for decades. On Friday and Saturday nights, a glow-in-the-dark bowling event called "Rock-n-Glow" runs from midnight to 3 a.m.
In March 2015, a 27-year-old woman was killed in the parking lot when a fight escalated into a shooting. The suspects began shooting as soon as they pulled into the lot and never entered the building, the bowling alley's manager said at the time.