Arrest Made in Torrance Bowling Alley Shooting That Killed Three
Posted Tuesday, January 8, 2019 - 11:03 am
Police Monday announced the arrest of a 47-year-old parolee accused in the shooting deaths of three men during a fight at a bowling alley in Torrance.
The arrest of Reginald Wallace of Los Angeles, who had been on parole since 2017 after spending 17 years incarcerated for assault with a deadly weapon involving a firearm, was announced by Torrance Police Department Chief Eve Irvine at a Monday afternoon news conference at police headquarters.
Wallace was arrested early Sunday by detectives and SWAT officers in the area of Fourth Street and Western Avenue in Los Angeles and was being held without bail at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility, authorities said.
Felons are barred under state law from possessing guns.
Officers responded to a shots-fired call just before midnight Friday at Gable House Bowl, 22501 Hawthorne Blvd. Three men were pronounced dead at the scene and two others were taken to a hospital for treatment of their injuries. Two other men sought medical attention on their own.
Irvine said a fight involving a few people grew into a brawl involving as many as 15. At some point, Wallace pulled a handgun from his pocket and fired into a crowd, Irvine alleged, adding that he was believed to have been the only shooter.
Irvine described a scene of “complete chaos” leading up to and following the shooting.
Killed were Michael Radford, 20, and Robert “Tank” Meekins and Astin Edwards, both 28 and best friends.
Meekins is survived by a 5-year-old son, whose godfather was Edwards.
Relatives of all three victims told reporters they believed the men were killed while trying to break up the fight.
No employees of the bowling alley, a community fixture for about five decades, were injured, police said.
“This is a tragic event of major proportions. We’ve never had an incident like this in the city of Torrance,” Irvine said. “It’s tragic. Three people lost their lives. Four other people were shot. This is life-changing for so many people.”
The bowling alley was equipped with surveillance cameras and had security personnel on hand the night of the shooting, Irvine said.
Video and other investigative tools led investigators to identify Wallace as the suspected shooter, she said.
The assault for which Wallace was incarcerated did not occur in Torrance, Irvine said.
The bowling alley was the scene of another fatal shooting on March 28, 2015.
In that case, 27-year-old Mytatiyana Conner was gunned down in the parking lot and died at a hospital. It’s unclear if anyone was arrested or convicted in connection with her death.
Dana Scott, who was at the bowling alley on Friday night, previously told reporters that a group of women got into a fight inside the building, then some men got involved. About a minute later, gunshots erupted, Scott said.
Another witness, who refused to give his name, said a fight erupted and he heard nine gunshots.
Wes Hamad, a 29-year-old Torrance resident, said he saw a “huge fight” break out that lasted about five minutes, blocked the entrance of the bowling alley and devolved into “complete chaos.”
“I grabbed my niece and started running toward the far end of the bowling alley,” he said. “As we were running, we heard 15 shots.”
Torrance Mayor Pat Furey described the shooting as “horrible” in a social media post.
Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Los Angeles, issued a statement Monday morning saying she was “deeply saddened” to learn of the shooting at Gable House Bowl.
“This shooting weighs heavily on my heart, as it took place right outside of my district in a bowling alley that should be a place for fun and celebration for members of our community,” the lawmaker said.
“I extend my deepest sympathies to the victims, their families, and all those who have been impacted by this shooting. I would also like to thank the Torrance Police Department, first responders, and staff of the Gable House Bowl for their bravery and response to this incident.”
There were three homicides in Torrance in 2016 and none in 2017, according to Torrance police Sgt. Ronald Harris, who said figures for 2018 were not immediately available.