Theaters screening The Dark Knight Rises are kind of like planes just after 9/11 these days – places full of panicky people who are easily scared and dangerously paranoid. 45-year-old David Escamillo, despite his legit taste in sick tank tops, learned about both the hard way the other night when he stampeded a crowd out of a TDKR screening and got an arrest and a beating for his troubles. It probably didn’t help that he looks like Lex Luthor.
Witnesses told police that originally Escamillo was seated near the rear of theater number two which was showing “The Dark Knight Rises”. He then got up and started pacing up and down the stairway. After getting into fight with another moviegoer, witnesses said Escamillo left the theater. He returned a short time later wearing black gloves, and according to the report, stormed to the back of the theater where he screamed “This is it!”
Panicked, more than 100 people in the theater raced toward the exits as three patrons jumped Escamillo and held him for police.
James Butler said he was nervous about seeing the new Batman movie with his brother Monday night even though the Regal theater was a long way from Aurora, Colorado.
“We talked about at the beginning of the movie that if someone comes in that side door we are going over the wall,” said Butler.
Butler said every time Escamillo got out of his seat, he shouted at someone in the theater.
“He said to him ‘Let’s go, right now, right f-king now’,” said Butler. ‘They walked to the top of the theater, there was an argument that ensued.”
Nghi Ho, on vacation with his family from Houston, couldn’t believe what happened next.
“The next thing I know the theater is filing out, I didn’t think a theater could empty that quickly,” said Ho.
“It was a stampede of people running out of the theater,” said Butler.
Ho’s family ran with the crowd, but he decided to stay put.
“I just crouched down and looked back to see what was going on,” said Ho.
Butler stayed too. When he finally stepped out, he found his brother outside armed, well sort of.
“My brother had collected a dust pan and a broom. We waited for the gentleman. When I said ‘There’s the guy’ he went after him and I could hear this huge crack of the broom go over the guy’s back and the guy was trying to run out,” said Butler.
Two other patrons joined in and together they pinned Escamillo to a staircase. Ho said his breath reeked of alcohol.
Witnesses told police no shots were fired. However, his yelling outside the theater that he “didn’t shoot anyone” may have prompted the calls to 911 that there had been a shooting at the movie theater.
A records check showed Escamillo had a warrant out on him for battery. He’s been charged with causing a disturbance in an establishment and affray (fighting in a public place). [CBSMiami]
So, to recap, people no longer feel safe in movie theaters, but on the plus side, if there’s a drunk inside causing a ruckus, you’re now free to take him outside and beat the dogpiss out of him with anything that isn’t nailed down without consequence. Not to minimize the tragedy, but at least something good has come out of this. Too bad the shooter hadn’t been a crying baby, then we’d really have carte blanche.
I’m not even going to make a joke about this happening in Florida. Florida theater patrons, you took care of the problem yourselves with dignity and panache. Today, we are all Florida.