Off-duty cop, manager foil 'Batman' shooting spree plans of Ohio man
CLEVELAND, Ohio - Police have found a cache of weapons and ammunition in the home of a man arrested after bringing a loaded 9mm Glock pistol and four knives to a late night showing of "The Dark Knight Rises" in Ohio.
The case is the latest in a series of chilling reminders of the massacre in Aurora, Colorado on July 20, when police say James Eagan Holmes opened fire on a crowded midnight showing of the new "Batman" film, killing 12 people and wounding 58 others.
Scott Smith, 37, was arrested Saturday after an off-duty officer approached him and asked to search the large military-type bag he brought into the theater in Westlake, according to Lieutenant Ray Arcuri of the Westlake Police Department.
The officer approached Smith, who had taken what police are calling a "tactical position" in the middle of the back row, 30 minutes before the movie began.
The loaded Glock and two extra fully loaded magazines were found in the bag, along with four knives in various zippered compartments.
A search on Monday night of Smith's home in North Ridgeville, a suburb about 20 miles (32 km) west of Cleveland, led police to a small room holding a collection of guns and ammunition.
The weapons cache included seven pistols and 12 shotguns and other rifles, along with thousands of rounds of ammunition, according to Arcuri.
Initially, Smith declined to comment on his motive for bringing a weapon to the theater. But he later told authorities the gun was "for his protection and the protection of innocent people," Arcuri told Reuters.
According to police, Smith has no previous criminal record. He had no conceal and carry license, however, and The Regal Cinema theater also has a no weapons policy advertised in signs posted at the entrance.
The case will move to Cuyahoga County where charges could include at least one count of illegally carrying a concealed weapon.
Arcuri said the off-duty police officer had been alerted by the theater manager that something about Smith was suspicious. — Reuters