TORRANCE – Wes Hamad was at Gable House Bowl with his 13-year-old niece and cousin late Friday night when he saw a “huge fight” break out.
The brawl, lasting about five minutes, blocked the entrance and devolved into “complete chaos,” he said.
“I grabbed my niece and started running towards the far end of the bowling alley,” said Hamad, 29. “As we were running, we heard 15 shots.”
In the confusion, he noticed a woman weeping over a man. The victim, he said, was riddled with multiple gunshot wounds to his head and neck.
Three Los Angeles men in their 20s were killed and four more people were injured in the shooting. Investigators on Saturday were “doing their best to identify as quickly as possible” the suspect or suspects, said Torrance Police Sgt. Ronald Harris.
Information regarding a possible motive, including whether the shooting was gang-related and whether the victims were specifically targeted, was not released. Harris also did not say how many times the victims were shot. There were no reports of bowling alley employees sustaining any injuries, he said.
Harris did not release the type of gun the men were shot with. He did say officers arriving on scene treated those shot, including performing CPR and using a defibrillator. Firefighters also treated victims. All of those shot were in the same area of of the bowling alley.
The Gable House Bowl, at Hawthorne and Sepulveda boulevards, is described on its website as a gaming venue that offers bowling, laser tag and an arcade.
Officers responded to the calls of “shots fired” at 11:54 p.m. The place was filled with patrons when the shots rang out, said Torrance police Sgt. Paul Kranke.
“It was packed,” he said.
Dwayne Edwards, 60, of Los Angeles said he received a call from his nephew that his 28-year-old son, Astin Kyle Edwards, was one of those who was killed.
His nephew told him his son was attempting to break up a fight near the front entrance of the bowling alley when a gunman came up and opened fire.
“He just started unloading,” Dwayne Edwards said. “My son was hit right in the heart.”
He was told his nephew attempted to keep pressure on the wound until police arrived.
“I’m thinking this is a dream and I’ll wake up,” he said. “He was a good kid. I don’t understand it.”
Anglean Hubbard’s 28-year-old son, Robert Earl Meekins Jr., also was killed. She said he, too, was trying to break up the fight. Meekins and Edwards were best friends, she said.
Her son was a maintenance worker for ABM Parking Services, she said. He had a 5-year-old son and lived in Los Angeles.
“They were just here to have a good time,” Hubbard said. “You shouldn’t have to go through this. You shouldn’t have to fear for your life.”
Also killed trying to stop the fight was 20-year-old Michael Di’Shawn Radford.
“He was happy, he was always a protector,” said his sister Latrice Dumas. “That’s how he got into this, he was trying to protect others.”
The bowling alley was known for some gang activity, Edwards said.
“There’s always a need for a police presence,” Harris said in response to the assertion of gang activity. “We do have people that are down. Unfortunately three people did pass away tonight and that’s the biggest concern we have right now.”
A woman was shot in the parking lot of the bowling alley in 2015.
Damone Thomas was in the karaoke area of the bowling alley when the brawl broke out and the shots were fired. One of his friends flipped over a table to shield them. People were fleeing around him.
At first, Thomas didn’t feel scared, he said; he was “just trying to survive.”
Later, as he headed home, the trauma hit him.
“Closing my eyes, all I can see is the women against the wall crying, not knowing what to do,” he said.
“All we heard was gunshots, four or six,” said Jesus Perez, who was in the bowling alley when the shooting started. “The security guard from the bowling alley escorted us back. We were worried and scared… we were worried about our lives. Everyone just started running for their lives, to their cars and took off.”
Police said the three men who were fatally shot died at the scene. Two of the four who were injured were transported to a local hospital for unknown injuries and the other two sought their own medical attention.
A video posted to YouTube shortly after the shooting shows a chaotic scene inside the bowling alley even after police officers arrived. One woman trying to assist a victim lying motionless on the floor is heard yelling at an officer as he tries to cut away the victim’s t-shirt with a knife.
“I’m holding it, I’m putting pressure,” she yelled. “We have to go now.”
“I don’t have an ambulance, I’m trying. OK?” the officer replied.
It was unclear whether the man still had a pulse. It appeared nobody was administering CPR.
The woman then frantically tried to direct her friends to help her administer aid as further screams could be heard in the background. She hollered for someone to contact the man’s “baby mamma,” saying, “call her … on Instagram!”
Toward the end of the choppy, roughly two minute video, a woman could be heard complaining about being maced.
“They maced us. Our face is burning,” one woman said.
As people coughed, someone said, “go to the back,” and the video ended.
Some witnesses told reporters the fight that preceded the shooting began with some women, but details were not available.
Dozens of police vehicles were parked outside the bowling alley early Saturday while a large crowd — including people who were visibly upset and angry — was separated from the business by police tape. Even after 6:30 a.m., people came to the scene looking for word of family members.
Anyone with information about the shooting can contact the Torrance Police Department at 310 328-3456.
Staff writers David Rosenfeld and Megan Barnes and The Associated Press contributed to this story.