Bowling Alley Murder

Two unidentified men rob a bowling alley, killing four people and wounding three.

Police and paramedics arriving at the bowling ally where the shooting took place

7 people were shot at the Bowling Alley

Police sketch of African American male with dark hair and mustache

Suspect #1

Suspect #1:

Gender: Male
DOB: Approx. 1960
Height: 5’10”
Weight: 170 lbs.
Eyes: Light
Hair: Dark, wavy
Remarks: Speaks excellent English with no Spanish accent

Police sketch of African American male with dark hair and mustache

Suspect #2

Suspect #2:

Gender: Male
DOB: Approx. 1940 to 1950
Height: 5’7”
Weight: 140 lbs.
Hair: Salt & pepper
Remarks: Speaks with a slight Spanish accent


On February 10, 1990, at the local bowling alley in Las Cruces, New Mexico, Ida the cook, was in the kitchen preparing for the lunch hour rush. It was about 8:00 A.M. and just an hour before opening time. The day manager, Stephanie, was in the office adding up the previous night’s receipts. Stephanie’s 12-year-old daughter, Melissa, and Melissa’s friend, Amy, were with her.

At about 8:20, Ida was surprised in the kitchen by a stranger with a pistol. He forced her towards the office where Stephanie and the girls were being held by a second gunman. According to Ida:

“I just thought they were gonna get money and then take off, especially when they told us, ‘All of you put your heads down.'”

The second gunman took $4,000 from the safe while the other gunman continued to yell, “Heads down!” Ida said she followed the instructions:

“When he said that, I thought, ‘These guys are leaving.’ And that’s when I felt they had shot me in the head.”

Two men standing outside the a bowling alley

A witness saw the two men outside

Seconds later, employee Steven Teran arrived at the bowling alley with his two young children. Like the other witnesses, they were shot in the head. All three died, along with Melissa’s friend, Amy. Somehow, Stephanie, Melissa and Ida survived the vicious attack. Captain Fred Rubio of the Las Cruces Police Department:

“We assessed the scene immediately. We canvassed the neighborhood, and thank god we were able to come up with a couple of witnesses that were able to give us some pretty decent composites.”

Man holding a gun up to two witnesses cowering on the floor

The gunmen shot the witnesses in cold blood

One of the witnesses was Stephanie’s brother, who we’ll call Michael. He said he had stopped by the bowling alley on his way to school:

“I saw two Hispanic gentlemen walking from the back of the building towards the front. The older gentleman handed the younger gentleman a small case. The older gentleman squats down, and looks right at me as I’m driving towards them. I took notice of what they were wearing, and their descriptions, hair color, skin, eyes.”

Based on this and all the eyewitness descriptions, police were able to draw up composites of the killers.

Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season two with Robert Stack and season seven with Dennis Farina. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina. Various seasons available now on Hulu.



1 Comment

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    Andrew Stull

    Sad story. I remember watching this one years ago. 30 years later I would hope it would have solved.