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Man to face ‘inducing panic’ count in movie theater incident

August 8, 2021 GMT

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A man will face a charge of causing a panic after his actions prompted a panicked rush out of a Ohio mall movie theater over the weekend, authorities said.

Columbus police said Sunday that, contrary to earlier reports, no shots were fired and in fact no weapon of any kind was involved.

Sgt. James Fuqua said a man walked into the Easton Town Center movie theater just before 9 p.m. Saturday — just before the end of a showing of “Suicide Squad” — and began screaming “that he was the king” accompanied by “many obscenities.”

Fuqua said the man then ran to top of theater and, still screaming obscenities, started to reach into his bag — and that sent everyone else racing for the exits, even jumping over railings to reach them, in fear that he had a weapon of some kind.

Fuqua said officers working special duty at the mall rushed inside and restrained the man without incident. The man, who refused to give his name but has since been identified, will face a charge of “inducing panic,” police said.


Fuqua said the incorrect reports of shots fired stemmed from shouts of young people rushing out of the theater. Some people sustained minor injuries in the flight from the theater, he said.

“We don’t want the citizens of the city to feel that it is unsafe to go to any shopping mall here,” he said.