A parolee who allegedly killed three men and wounded four others at a bowling alley in Torrance about 2 1/2 months ago pleaded not guilty Tuesday to triple murder and other charges.
Reginald Leander Wallace, 47, of Los Angeles, is charged with the shooting deaths of Michael Radford, 20, and Robert Meekins and Astin Edwards, both 28, at Gable House Bowl at 22501 Hawthorne Blvd. He also faces four counts of attempted murder and one count of possession of a firearm by a felon.
The murder charges include the special circumstance allegations of multiple murders and murder to further the activities of a criminal street gang, along with allegations of using a handgun causing great bodily injury and death. Prosecutors will decide later whether to seek the death penalty against Wallace, who was arrested by Torrance police two days after the shooting.
Officers responded to a shots-fired call just before midnight Jan. 4 at the bowling alley, where a fight involving several people grew into a brawl involving as many as 15, according to police.
At some point, Wallace allegedly pulled a handgun from his pocket and fired into the crowd, according to Torrance police Chief Eve Irvine, who said Wallace was believed to have been the only shooter.
Relatives of the three victims told reporters they believed the men were killed while trying to break up the fight.
Irvine described a scene of “complete chaos” leading up to and following the shooting.
Radford, Meekins and Edward were pronounced dead at the scene. Two other people were taken to a hospital for treatment of their injuries and two other men sought medical attention on their own.
No employees of the bowling alley, a community fixture for about five decades, were injured.
“This is a tragic event of major proportions. We’ve never had an incident like this in the city of Torrance,” the police chief said earlier. “It’s tragic. Three people lost their lives. Four other people were shot. This is life-changing for so many people.”
The bowling alley was equipped with surveillance cameras and had security personnel on hand the night of the shooting, Irvine said.
Video and other investigative tools led investigators to identify Wallace as the suspected shooter, the police chief said. Wallace had been on parole since 2017 after spending 17 years incarcerated for assault with a deadly weapon involving a firearm, according to Irvine.
The criminal complaint alleges that Wallace was convicted of first-degree murder in 1989 when he was a juvenile, and that he was convicted as an adult of bringing or possessing a gun within a school zone in 1997 and assault with a firearm in 1998.
Wallace is due back in a Torrance courtroom May 23, when a date is scheduled to be set for a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to allow the case against him to proceed to trial.