In an incredibly misguided attempt at a publicity stunt, a movie theater in Jefferson City, Mo., hired a man dressed in tactical gear with a fake gun to walk into theaters during the opening weekend of Iron Man 3.
The theater management defended its actions, which reminded many of the Aurora, Colo. shooting and caused local police to believe they were responding to an active shooter situation, ABC 17 News reports.
One of the movie patrons was a veteran who suffers from PTSD, ABC 17 reported.
“We had just finished watching Iron Man 3,” John Molock said. “We’re just getting into the car when I spotted a man in full assault gear, carrying what appeared to be a modified M-4 and 9 mm on his side.”
“That’s just unbelievable,” he said. “The whole country is talking about gun control because of shootings in theaters and schools.”
Capt. Doug Shoemaker said the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department received a number of 911 calls abut a suspiciously dressed person entering the theater.
“Everything was in place, it’s the opening night of a superhero movie, it’s somebody walking in all-dark clothes, everything pointed to bad things about to happen,” Shoemaker told ABC 17. “There’s really no good that can come of this.”
The theater manager said he has no regrets about their actions, saying “my job is to entertain people.” He also said he took what happened in Aurora into account.
He also apologized on Facebook: “We didn’t clearly tell our customers and some people didn’t realize it was for entertainment purposes only. We apologize that police were called to come out to our theater.”
“It’s an unfortunate lack of wisdom in this particular judgment that hopefully will never occur again,” Shoemaker said. The public and police department are working with the theater to avoid situations like this in the future.