A fight at a bowling alley in California turned deadly on Friday night, police said. Three men were killed and four injured.
Shortly before midnight, police in Torrance, a coastal city about 20 miles from Los Angeles, responded to calls of “shots fired” at the Gable House Bowl. Multiple victims were found with gunshot wounds inside the building, which is described on its website as a gaming venue that offers bowling, laser tag and a full arcade.
Police said three men died at the scene and four male victims were injured, two of whom were transported to a local hospital for unknown injuries. The other two injured victims sought their own medical attention.
Authorities did not immediately release details about what caused the shooting, but witnesses said it stemmed from a fight between two large groups of people.
Investigators were trying to “identify the suspects and whoever else was involved”, said Sgt Ronald Harris, a police spokesman. “Our hearts go out to the families who lost loved ones during this incident.”
Wes Hamad, a 29-year-old Torrance resident, was at the bowling alley with his 13-year-old niece and cousin when he saw a “huge fight” break out. Hamad said the brawl, which lasted about five minutes, blocked the entrance and devolved into “complete chaos”.
“I grabbed my niece and started running towards the far end of the bowling alley,” he said. “As we were running, we heard 15 shots.”
Hamad said he saw a woman weeping over a man who had multiple gunshot wounds in his head and neck.
Brandon Tyre, 31, told the Los Angeles Times he was celebrating a friend’s birthday when he heard fighting, then gunshots. He turned to find his brother had been shot in the chest. The brother’s condition was unknown.
Damone Thomas was in the karaoke section of the venue, a regular stop for him and his friends after work, when people ran in saying there was a shooting. The 30-year-old Los Angeles resident said a friend flipped over a table to shield them as they heard gunshots.
Thomas said he didn’t feel scared because he was “just trying to survive”. But when he was driving back home, he said he realized how traumatic the situation was. He had not been able to fall asleep, he said.
“Closing my eyes, all I can see is the women against the wall crying, not knowing what to do,” he said.
Dana Scott, whose bowling league was meeting Friday night, told CNN: “A lot of people ran back into the bar area behind the seats and on to the floor, under the benches. People were crying. It was not comfortable.”
Both Thomas and Hamad said they had never witnessed any violence at the venue in the past, but Hamad said he had stopped going for a while because he heard someone with a gun was recently seen there.
“I definitely won’t be going back any more,” he said.