Las Cruces bowling alley massacre

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Las Cruces bowling alley massacre
LocationLas Cruces, New Mexico
Coordinates32°18′37″N 106°46′01″W / 32.3102°N 106.7669°W / 32.3102; -106.7669Coordinates: 32°18′37″N 106°46′01″W / 32.3102°N 106.7669°W / 32.3102; -106.7669
DateFebruary 10, 1990
Attack type
Mass murder, robbery, arson
Weapons.22 caliber pistol
Injured3 (1 later died from complications due to injuries in 1999)
No. of participants

The Las Cruces bowling alley massacre occurred in Las Cruces, New Mexico on February 10, 1990. Seven people were shot, four fatally, by two unidentified robbers at the Las Cruces Bowl at 1201 East Amador Avenue before burning down a portion of the building prior to leaving. The case is currently unsolved.


On the morning of February 10, 1990, the bowling alley's manager, 34-year-old Stephanie C. Senac, was in her office preparing to open the business with her 12-year-old daughter Melissa Repass and Melissa's 13-year-old friend Amy Houser, who were planning to supervise the alley's day care.[1] The alley's cook, Ida Holguin, was in the kitchen when two men entered through an unlocked door. One pulled a .22 caliber pistol on Holguin and ordered her into Senac's office, where she, Repass, and Houser were already being held by the other gunman.

The gunmen ordered the women to lie down while taking approximately $4,000 to $5,000 from the bowling alley's safe. Soon after, Steve Teran, the alley's 26-year-old mechanic, entered, having been unable to find a babysitter for his two daughters, two-year-old Valerie Teran and six-year-old Paula Holguin (no relation to Ida), intending to drop them at the alley's day care.[2] Not seeing anyone in the alley, however, Teran entered Senac's office and stumbled onto the crime scene. The gunmen then shot all seven victims multiple times at point-blank range.[1][2] They then set the office on fire by igniting some papers before leaving the alley.

Houser, Teran, and his two daughters were killed. Repass, despite being shot five times, called 9-1-1 on the office phone, allowing emergency services to respond immediately and saving her life along with her mother's and Holguin's.[3] However, Senac died in 1999 due to complications from her injuries.[4]

Police set up ten roadblocks surrounding Las Cruces within an hour of the shooting, and carefully screened anyone leaving the city.[2][5] The U.S. Customs Service, Army and Border Patrol searched the area with planes and helicopters. No arrests were made.[5]

The event remains a cold case.[2][6]

26 years after the shooting, a brother of victim Steven Teran (who died in the shooting) Anthony Teran was included in a 2016 issue of the Las Cruces Sun newspaper and one of his remarks was noted "In this day and age, things like this don’t go unsolved. How did we not get these guys? That’s the question I ask myself every day. Numerous people saw these gunmen, so someone out there knows something, and they need to come forward."[4]

In popular culture[edit]


A full-length documentary film called A Nightmare in Las Cruces[7] was released on the 20th anniversary of the massacre. It uses actual crime scene video, pictures and interviews with family members.[8] Filmmaker Charlie Minn hopes it will "move someone to come forward with fresh information and break the case".[9] Since its release, more tips have been reported to the local police.[10]

The event is also referenced in Odd Thomas (2013) and Cabin Fever (2016).

TV crime informational series[edit]

This case was featured on Unsolved Mysteries two and a half months after the murders, and on America's Most Wanted twice, once in November 2004 and again in March 2010.[11]


  1. ^ a b Newsome, John (February 5, 2015). "Las Cruces bowling alley murders: 25 years later". CNN. Retrieved December 15, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d "New Mexico murders still a mystery after 21 years". Fox News. Associated Press. February 7, 2011. Retrieved May 28, 2012.
  3. ^ Wian, Casey (January 20, 2011). "AC360° Cold Case: Twenty-one years later, justice eludes victims of bowling alley slaying". CNN. Retrieved December 15, 2019.
  4. ^ a b López, Carlos Andres (February 9, 2016). "'Bowling Alley Massacre' case remains unsolved". Las Cruces Sun-News.
  5. ^ a b Benke, Richard (February 11, 1990). "Investigate Killings Of Four In Bowling Alley". Associated Press. Retrieved December 15, 2019.
  6. ^ Hayes, Patrick (October 14, 2019). "30 years later: Bowling alley massacre still unsolved". KOB 4. Retrieved December 15, 2019.
  7. ^ "Documentary Examines Las Cruces Bowling Alley Massacre". KFOX-TV. El Paso, Texas. Archived from the original on September 5, 2012. Retrieved May 26, 2012.
  8. ^ Anthony Garcia (February 10, 2011). "Las Cruces Bowling Alley Massacre Remembered". KTSM-TV. El Paso, Texas. Archived from the original on February 11, 2011. Retrieved May 26, 2012.
  9. ^ "Bowling alley massacre movie in ABQ". KRQE-TV. Albuquerque, New Mexico. Archived from the original on September 3, 2012. Retrieved May 26, 2012.
  10. ^ Ashley Meeks (February 24, 2010). "Bowling alley massacre that rocked Las Cruces 20 years ago remains a mystery". El Paso Times. Retrieved May 26, 2012.
  11. ^ "Crime". KRQE News 13. Retrieved 8 January 2016.

External links[edit]