The first of the two shootings in Lewiston, Maine, took place at a bowling alley, interrupting an American pastime on an ordinary Wednesday evening.
The facility, which the police identified as Sparetime Recreation and whose website says its name is now Just-In-Time Recreation, has 22 lanes that host bowling leagues, corporate events and birthday parties with unlimited soda. Its restaurant’s offerings include nachos, wings and potato skins.
“Thanks for playing,” reads a sign on some glass doors near the exit, according to photograph posted on the venue’s Instagram page two years ago. “See you again in your spare time!”
On the bowling alley’s Facebook page, the management has posted photos of smiling customers and congratulated people for bowling perfect games. This month, there was a notice advertising an annual fund-raiser for fighting hunger.
In the predawn hours on Thursday, Lewiston was under lockdown and nearly deserted. Around 2 a.m., a few reporters were congregating near a sports bar and a Subway sandwich shop at the corner of Mollison Way, a road leading to the bowling alley. The Lewiston police said the road was among several near the locations of the shootings that would be closed.
“We all went bowling as kids growing up here,” said Mar Mcenery, 52, who lives four miles from the bowling alley and had come to see the scene for herself at 4 a.m. despite the citywide lockdown order. “Especially when the weather gets colder — the bowling alley and the ice rink, that’s what we do.”
Ms. Mcenery said the bowling center was a popular hangout for local teenagers. “There were a lot of kids there, children and teenagers,” she said. “Who do we know that was in there? We live in a town of 30,000 people — we have to know somebody.”