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. Justine Runte

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  2. Brian David Massey

    Hello. I’m a clairvoyant. I thought I had said something about this story awhile back and it’s not here so I guess I will just repeat what I mentioned about this story awhile ago. The 2 men in this story that killed these people at this bowling alley about 3 and a half months after the bowling alley killings these 2 men were gunned down in a botched robbery attempt in Mexico. They never were mentioned by Mexican authorities to this crime because it just happend right after the bowling alley murders somewhere in Mexico. These 2 men have been dead for years and the Mexican Authorities have never tried to tie them to the Bowling Alley Murders. Guys these men are dead. Why hasn’t anyone from either the United States or Mexico try to tie them to together instead of believeing that these men are alive still? It makes no sense. Both men were gunned down in Mexico in a botch robbery in Mexico right after the Bowling Alley Murders.


    • Chuck

      Brian is right, those two men are long dead. I can’t believe they haven’t connected the dots either! As soon as I saw this case on unsolved mysteries on Pluto just now I knew the outcome for the two robber’s!


  3. Johnny Rodgers

    This one is a bit confusing due to the limited information released by the police and the lack of any information regarding the investigation. My input would be that a bowling alley would be a very odd place to rob. The killers seemed to know the layout of the place and were surprised so many people were inside apparently. The killers had some sort of relationship with the bowling alley. Why would the killers rob a bowling alley instead of a bank? The answer is that they knew they could get away with it. It sounds like they had an initial plan and then something went wrong and they felt the need to “eliminate” all the would-be eye witnesses. Somebody close to the bowling alley knows something. There is no way in hell that a crime of this magnitude involving at least two individuals simply fades into oblivion. There was a specific motive involved here and it had to do with this bowling alley for some reason. Someone was angry with this bowling alley for some reason and wanted to “get even.” Things got out of hand inside the bowling alley and these guys apparently panicked and tried, unsuccessfully I might add, to eliminate all witnesses. This was not a professional job and it has been sheer luck that these two idiots haven’t been caught already. Again, any DNA around the safe or around anything the killers may have touched should be uploaded to and familial DNA could solve this quick. However, I’m not sure if any DNA was collected. These guys were amateurs! Sloppy at best….tried and failed to eliminate the witnesses….tried and failed to burn the place down. These guys had a connection to the bowling alley in Las Cruces.


  4. Andrew Stull

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


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