A 37-year-old Ohio man has been arrested after bringing a gun, two loaded magazines and several knives to a night-time showing of “The Dark Knight Rises.”
Police in the Cleveland area town of Westlake say the suspect, Scott A. Smith, caught the attention of the theater manager after carrying a satchel to the 10 pm showing of the latest Batman film on Saturday. The manager and an off-duty police officer working security that night at the Regal Cinema found the weapons after checking the moviegoer’s satchel.
A search warrant was issued for Smith’s home on Monday evening and he was arrested without incident. Police say approximately eight rifles and handguns, as well as “survivalist gear” such as gas masks and bulletproof vests were found at Smith’s home.
Lt. Ray Arcuri said police don’t know why Smith came to the theater armed, but had decided to err on the side of caution.
“After Colorado anything is possible,” Arcuri told the Plain Dealer daily. “When you consider the movie he was going to and what happened in Colorado, you have to wonder what would make him want to bring the weapons into that particular film. Our police officer did a great job spotting him.”
Americans have been on guard at showings of The Dark Knight Rises following the mass July 20 shootings by James Holmes in Aurora, Colorado, that left 12 dead and 58 wounded.
Arcuri said Smith came half an hour early and was “the only person in there.”
“Bullins [the off-duty officer] looked inside and saw a loaded Glock 9 millimeter handgun, two fully loaded magazine clips, three knives in the bag and one on his person,” Arcuri said. “When Bullins asked why he carried the weapons into the theater, the man said, ‘No problem. I’ll put them in my car.’ But it was too late for that.”
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Smith, who has a wife and a young daughter, has no criminal record and briefly served in the military. He is being held without bail and faces charges of carrying concealed weapons and three other weapons offenses.
Smith has thus far refused to speak with police.