Bowling and drinking beer is supposed to be fun. But sometimes, especially when the beer becomes excessive, things can take a turn for the worse. According to prosecutors in Pierce County, that's exactly what happened Tuesday night when Christopher Clifford downed two pitchers of beer at Tacoma's Tower Lanes and then wanted to bust out some karaoke over the bowling alley's business PA system.
As charging documents filed in the case note, singing karaoke on the Tower Lanes PA system "is not allowed."
Authorities contend this rule was enough to set Clifford off, on a night that started fairly normal. According to charging documents, an employee at Tower Lanes says Clifford arrived at the business and began bowling and drinking beer - a total of two pitchers - before asking to sing karaoke over the PA system. The employee told investigators Clifford was civil until being told he couldn't sing over the PA, at which point "he became enraged and picked up and threw a table, breaking part of it off," according to charging documents.
Prosecutors say Clifford followed up his table throwing by hurling a racial slur at an African American patron of the bowling alley, before allegedly threatening to kill the boyfriend of the Tower Lanes employee on duty. Clifford then stormed off - allegedly kicking the bowling alley's glass door in the process and causing it to shatter. Prosecutors say damage to the table and door exceeded $750.
Not long later, according to prosecutors, police responded to the address of the registered owner of the car Clifford was seen leaving the bowling alley in. There, officers witnessed the suspected vehicle approaching and pulled it over - with Clifford found behind the wheel, appearing "highly intoxicated" according to charging documents. Police subsequently brought the Tower Lanes employee to the scene and they identified Clifford as the man who'd broken the table and door.
According to charging documents:
The defendant was advised of his rights and agreed to answer question. He said he drank a pitcher of beer at the bowling alley and admitted it upset him when he wasn't allowed to sing on the PA system. He said, "It did infuriate me so I fucking left." He also stated, "I had an African American walk up to me and I said nigger." When asked about the table and door, the defendant said that he did not remember. He said that he threw open the door, but was not aware of the fact that he broke the glass.
Apparently no one thought to ask him why on earth he thought the bowling alley would let him sing karaoke over the PA system.
Clifford has officially been charged with second-degree malicious mischief, and prosecutors say possible DUI charges are still pending. The News Tribune reports Clifford pleaded not guilty to the malicious mischief charge on Wednesday.