MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) - Four people are recovering and a gunman remains on the run, after he opened fire at a popular east Memphis bowling alley late Tuesday night.
It happened a little after 11:30 p.m. at Billy Hardwick's All-Star Lanes in the 1500 block of south White Station Road.
The police report said the shooter, who is a regular customer, fought with a group inside the bowling alley, grabbed a gun from a car, then fired outside the front door into the establishment.
The bowling alley re-opened Wednesday morning. Management promised more armed security and stronger monitoring, after the shooting injured four people, shattered glass, rattled nerves, and forced terrified customers to run for cover.
"We were just bowling and everything seemed normal and then a bunch of hollering was going on,” said Michael Collie.
Inside the lanes Tuesday night, Collie heard the pops and felt the fear.
"Right around where the lockers are by the bathrooms, that's when we started hearing shots and then we darted in the bathroom,” said Collie.
While hiding, Collie said he heard more shots. Memphis police said the gunfire stemmed from a fight in the bowling alley's lobby which escalated.
"I was pretty scared I didn't know what was going on,” Collie told us.
Authorities said a man, between 18 and 22-years-old, went to the parking lot, grabbed a gun, and fired into the building from the front door. The report said the bullets hit or grazed four people, leaving witnesses in disbelief.
"We hid in the bathroom for a couple of minutes and then people started to walk out,” said Collie.
Memphis police they'll review surveillance footage from the bowling alley as they work to find and arrest the man who opened fire.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (901) 528-CASH.
Management at Billy Hardwick's All Star Lanes released this statement Wednesday afternoon:
Last evening, just 30 minutes prior to closing, a fight broke out inside our bowling center amongst a group of patrons. It escalated to one man going out into the parking lot and retrieving a gun from his vehicle, and he fired shots from the parking lot through the front door directed at those involved in the altercation. Three people were injured and were all in stable condition. Our thoughts and prayers are with them and we are thankful they are expected to make full recoveries.
We take the safety of our customers and employees very seriously and in the 35 years we have been in business, nothing like this has ever happened. This was strictly an isolated and personal incident.
In addition to our security cameras and armed security guard, who came inside the building when the fight broke out, we will be taking extra precautions to further ensure the safety of our customers and staff. We will be adding additional armed security guards, and will implement a zero-tolerance policy regarding any behavior that could potentially lead to violence.
We would like to thank everyone for their calls and emails of concern. We are doing well and are open for business.