ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — The shootings at Don Carter Lanes in Rockford Saturday evening have stunned all of us. Two of the victims who did not survive have ties to the sports community.
One of the men who perished was 69 year-old Jerome Woodfork of Rockford. Three years ago I did a story about his Rockford Traverlers bowlng team preparing to go to a national tournament in Buffalo, New York.
Woodfork loved to bowl, and he enjoyed being around his fellow bowlers and around people in general. When I interviewed him he was very optimistic about his team’s chances at the national tournament.
“We’re all consistent. We can throw strikes with the best. That’s what we did. Regardless if it’s a strikefest or a grind we can do it.”
One of the other shooting victims who died was Dennis Steinhoff a local high school basketball referee and a softball umpire. He was 73 years-old. He was still active inspite of his age.
Winnebago High School boys basketball coach Joe Murphy had Steinhoff work many of his teams’ games over the years. Murphy was stunned to learn that Steinhoff was one of the victims Saturday at Don Carter’s.
“I got a text from one of my assistant coaches who said that he had heard rumors that he was one of the guys that had been killed, and I was like…just shocked, something to that effect. I can’t believe it. This is not good. You just knew that he had to be in the wrong spot at the wrong time for something like this to happen.”
” As an official, he’s a good official. He’s easy to work with. He’s one of those officials when you yell at him he doesn’t lose his temper or get mad. He was always very conscious of doing a good job. He was a real personable guy, real easy, to get to know and like.”
News of the death of Steinhoff led to lots of reaction on Twitter from the local basketball community. Following are some of those tweets.
For more on Steinhoff click on this story from WTVO/Fox 39 news reporter Michelle Rave.