Montgomery County

Teen Accused in Deadly Bowling Alley Shooting Surrenders to Face Charges

Jamel Barnwell, a 17-year-old accused of killing a man and shooting four others at Our Town Alley in East Norriton, Pennsylvania, was jailed Monday morning after surrendering late Sunday night, police say

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What to Know

  • A 17-year-old boy sought in connection with a bowling alley shooting in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, that left one person dead and four others injured has turned himself in.
  • Jamel Barnwell faces numerous counts, including murder, attempted murder and aggravated assault, stemming from the shooting Saturday night in East Norriton.
  • Authorities say the teen and two other males entered the Our Town Alley and three minutes later there was a physical altercation between them and the victims. Barnwell is the only one suspected in the shooting.

A 17-year-old sought in a deadly shooting at a Montgomery County bowling alley was jailed Monday morning after surrendering overnight to face first-degree murder charges.

The Saturday night shooting at Our Town Alley, formerly Facenda Whitaker Lanes, also left four other people injured.

Jamel Barnwell, of Upper Darby, accompanied by his parents, surrendered to police late Sunday night, East Norriton Police Chief Brandon Pasquale told NBC10.

County detectives interviewed Barnwell and he was taken to Montgomery County jail, Pasquale said.

An arrest warrant was issued for the teen over the weekend charging him with first- and third-degree murder, attempted murder, aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, possessing an instrument of crime and related counts.

“This violent 17-year-old is now safely behind bars,” Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele said. “I want to thank the media and the public for getting the word out about the defendant being sought on murder charges in this shooting."

Officers in East Norriton, about 23 miles northwest of Philadelphia, responded shortly after 6:30 p.m. Saturday to the alley, where dozens of people, including children, were bowling.

The Montgomery County prosecutor's office said 29-year-old Frank Wade of Philadelphia was found dead in the entrance to the bowling alley. An autopsy Sunday concluded that he died of multiple gunshot wounds and his death was ruled a homicide.

Four relatives of Wade — ages 19, 21, 26 and 31 — were found wounded. The victims were transported to local hospitals and later listed in stable condition. Detectives recovered 15 fired .45-caliber cartridge casings and five projectiles, one in the ceiling and four in the floor, prosecutors said.

County detectives and local police gathered video surveillance and witness interviews and reported finding that three males, including the 17-year-old from Upper Darby, entered the bowling alley and three minutes later there was a physical altercation between them and the victims.

Authorities said the teenager pulled a firearm with an extended magazine from his jacket and began shooting. The three then fled, leaving behind three cell phones, one of which belonged to the suspect.

Pasquale on Monday said that the other two people with Barnwell aren't suspected in the shooting.

Syreeta Stanford told NBC10 she was Wade's wife, saying he was a father and aspiring chef and that they had plans to open up a food truck together.

"Frank was a good guy," Stanford said. "He was a good guy. He was a happy guy. He loved family. He wasn't in the streets."

Stanford said Wade had gone to the bowling alley to hang out with some people he knew.

"I'm living a nightmare right now," Stanford told NBC10. "This don't feel real."

District Attorney Kevin Steele said 50 to 75 people, including young children, were in the bowling alley at the time, and some hid in a closet.

Witnesses reported hearing about a dozen shots inside the building. One reported seeing a man break a window with a chair to get his children to safety outside.

In a statement, Our Town Alley said the incident is rare and that they are working with police.

"Our Town Alley management and staff are devastated by the violence that occurred at our establishment Saturday evening, February 20, 2021," the statement said. "Our prayers are with the victims, their families, and our entire community, which has been rattled by this unusual incident."

The last homicide in East Norriton was at least five years ago, police said.

Barnwell was arraigned Monday morning and held without bail. Online court records don't list an attorney who could comment on his behalf.

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