By Solomon Jones | WHYY.org
Before COVID-19 shut down the world, I would often take my family to a bowling alley in East Norriton, Montgomery County. Back then, it was called the Facenda-Whitaker Bowling Lanes. Now it’s called the Our Town Alley Bowling Lanes, and it’s called one thing more — a murder scene.
In the days before gunshots shattered the peace on a quiet winter weekend, we’d head to Steppy’s Sports Bar, which was attached to the bowling alley. We’d eat nachos and buffalo wings, talking and glancing at the television screens while we waited for a lane. Sometimes we’d let our son and daughter play in the arcade, where they won tickets that they cashed in for trinkets.
We saw actor Terrence Howard there once. I’d see listeners and readers there, as well. And over the years, as my son grew into a better bowler than all of us, that bowling alley became part of our family’s story. But on Saturday, that story took a turn for the worse when 17-year-old Jamel Barnwell allegedly entered the bowling alley with a gun, killing 29-year-old Frank Wade, and wounding four others.
Barnwell turned himself in on Sunday, but the tragedy doesn’t end there.