Bowling alley owner tells his side of shooting story.

May 24, 2017

Bowling alley owner tells his side of shooting story.


By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

AMBER TOWNSHIP — Donn Slimmen, owner of Spartan West Bowling Center, 2253 W. US 10-31, said the shooting incident that took place on the business property Tuesday was the result of an argument that he was having with his son, Bernard “Beamer” and that the gun was never in the building nor were there any gunshots in the building or in the parking lot.

“Beamer and I had an argument and it escalated. I put him into a bear hug and we ended up falling to the ground,” Donn said. “He thought he had hurt me and he ran out of the building. He was frustrated and grabbed his registered handgun out of his vehicle and went out back and shot two or three rounds from the gun into the ground. My wife, Karen, and an employee got concerned and ran out after him. That’s when someone called 911 and that triggered the police to respond.”

Donn said Bernard is a US military veteran and was working through some issues.

The first law enforcement units, a Mason County sheriff deputy and a Michigan State Police trooper, arrived shortly after being dispatched at 4:51 p.m. The units immediately requested backup, according to Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole. Backup included Scottville Police Department and members of the sheriff’s office’s tactical response team.

When law enforcement arrived, they eventually located Bernard, Karen, and the employee. Donn said he told the police that no one was armed at that point, but everyone was initially detained. He said he was told by law enforcement that they needed to detain everyone as a precaution in order to sort the situation out and confirm that no one was armed.

Sheriff Cole confirmed, in a press release, that a pistol was recovered behind the business and another was found in a vehicle in the parking lot. 

“I just want our customers to know that nobody inside the building was ever in any danger. We try our best to operate a reputable establishment and provide good customer service. Sometimes when family works together, there can be a lot of emotions. The argument that we had, which sparked the whole incident, was a rare incident and would never happen when are full of customers. I want to apologize to anyone who might have been inconvenienced by this incident.”

Bernard was taken to Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital and evaluated. He has been transferred to a Grand Rapids facility, Donn said.

“We just ask that people pray for our son. He served our country, is a dedicated husband and father, a good son and just a great person, ” Donn added. 

This story is copyrighted © 2017, all rights reserved by Media Group 31, LLC, PO Box 21, Scottville, MI 49454. No portion of this story or images may be reproduced in any way, including print or broadcast, without expressed written consent.

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