A Los Angeles man who fired into a brawl at a crowded Torrance bowling alley in 2019, killing three men and injuring four others, had picked out and deliberately targeted his victims, a prosecutor told jurors during opening statements of the man’s trial Thursday, June 16 .
Deputy District Attorney Robert Song told the jury of seven men and five women that Reggie Wallace was never involved in the fight that broke out at the Gable House Bowl on Jan. 4, 2019 prior to opening fire near the front entrance and then fleeing.
Instead, Song played jailhouse audio recordings in which Wallace, now 51, allegedly told another inmate that he had spotted rival gang members at the bowling alley that night, and that he picked a spot underneath a camera near the front entrance because he thought it would keep him from being captured while shooting into the crowd.
He then allegedly told the inmate he didn’t realize there were four or five other security cameras inside that were facing in his direction, according to the recording.
Wallace faces three counts of murder and four counts of attempted murder and faces life without the possibility of parole if convicted as charged, prosecutors said.
He was on parole at the time of the shooting, Torrance police said while announcing his arrest two days later.
Killed in the shooting were Astin Kyle Edwards, 28; Robert Earl Meekins Jr., 28 and Daniel Di’Shawn Radford, 20. Meekins and Radford were fathers of young children, family members have said.
In his opening statement, Song said the shooting was not random and alluded to the fact that it wasn’t in response to the brawl.
“The defendant saw his enemies there, quickly planned to murder these people and executed that plan,” Song said.
Scott Johnson, an alternate public defender representing Wallace, deferred his opening statement to the defense portion of the trial. It wasn’t yet known if Wallace planned to take the stand.
The brawl and shooting were captured on multiple surveillance cameras inside the bowling alley.
But cell phone video taken by a bystander, played by Song for the jury Thursday, was claimed to have shown nearly all of Wallace’s actions from the time the brawl swelled to more than 15 people to the time the shooting occurred.
Song played the footage for the jury during his opening statement, which appeared to show Wallace, wearing a tan or light brown T-shirt, watching the fight from a distance, then walking toward one of the bowling alley’s two front entrances and, shortly after , extending his right arm with a handgun and firing toward the melee.
“He’s separated from the fight, and he uses it as a cover for himself,” Song said. “He fires 11 times and then walks out the door.”
He walked toward the south entrance of the parking lot along West 226th Street and ultimately ended up walking southbound along Hawthorne Boulevard before he was picked up by the same man who drove him there, Song said. The driver’s daughter and a third man were also in the car.
Edwards and Radford died near a front counter that split the bowling lanes on the north and south sides. Meekins collapsed on a small set of stairs near lanes on the south side.
Family members have said the victims were trying to break up the fight, which started between two groups of women near a snack bar on the north side of the bowling alley, according to surveillance footage. What prompted the fight was unknown.
Wallace was found and arrested two days after the shooting near Koreatown. Song showed jurors a photo of the clothes Wallace appeared to be wearing the night of the shooting, which were found by detectives during a search of his San Pedro home, Song said.
“The proof in this case, you’ll find, is overwhelming,” Song told the jurors.
Gang against Wallace were dropped following a preliminary hearing in March. During that hearing, a Torrance police detective said one of the victims, Edwards, had a firearm in his right pants pocket.
During that hearing, alternate public defender Nagmeh Shariatmadar pointed to a portion of surveillance video shortly before the shots were fired that appeared to show Edwards’ right hand near his right pocket, but many of the participants’ lower bodies could not be seen. It wasn’t yet known if that might play into the defense argument during trial.
The trial was anticipated to wrap up next week, both attorneys said.
Gable House Bowl, just south of the intersection of Hawthorne and Sepulveda Boulevards, has been there for more than 50 years, serving as a popular South Bay hangout spot. The bowling alley reopened a day after the shooting.