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Documentary on local crime story debuts at area cinemas

Documentary filmmaker Charlie Minn's tribute to the victims of a vicious unsolved crime in Las Cruces will premiere at theaters around the state on Feb. 10, the massacre's 20th anniversary. Students from New Mexico State University's Creative Media Institute helped with the project.

"A Nightmare in Las Cruces" will show in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Alamogordo and Las Cruces. The film recounts the 1990 killings at the Las Cruces Bowl (now 10 Pin Alley) where two gunmen shot seven people execution-style, leaving four dead.

"I was looking for a compelling story to work on last summer," Minn said. "I was actually surprised no one got to this story before I did. I just thought it was a great opportunity to help the victims' families. The movie business can be very powerful that way."

Minn, who spent 10 years working in broadcast news and sports, was no stranger to the story of the bowling alley massacre. He said after seeing the re-enactment on the television show "Unsolved Mysteries" in 1990, he kept checking in with Las Cruces police on the status of the case. Hoping to reignite the interest in the crime and track down any clues on the whereabouts of the killers, Minn decided to go to work on a documentary.

Filmed locally, "A Nightmare in Las Cruces" is Minn's attempt to tell not only the story of what some claim to be the worst crime in New Mexico history, but one of heroism, love, hope and recovery.

NMSU Creative Media Institute students helped in the production of the film as well as individuals from Doņa Ana Community College. Minn said several individuals from the Alamogordo community offered their talents as cast members.

"CMI should be proud they have students tied to an important film like this," Minn said. "We definitely had a lot of great help from the students."

The film will run for a minimum of nine days in Alamogordo at Aviator 10 and in Las Cruces at Cineport 10, however Minn said he believes it could go longer depending on community support.

"I'm very thankful to Mr. Allen for helping to support this effort," Minn said. "I think everyone in Doņa Ana should see this because it happened right in their own backyard."

"A Nightmare in Las Cruces" is scheduled to show in Albuquerque at the Guild Cinema on Feb. 10-11 at 9:15 p.m. and in Santa Fe at the Center for Contemporary Arts on Feb. 13-14 at 11 a.m.

For more information on the film visit http://www.bowlingmassacre.com.