Some Metro Theaters Taking Extra Precautions After Shooting
Police are taking extra safety measures at movie theaters this weekend in response to the Colorado shootings--even in the Twin Cities.
And theater owners are revamping their security procedures. There's a concern that in the immediate aftermath of the rampage there could be copycat incidents across the country.
Still, many moviegoers simply think the Colorado incident is an isolated one and it isn't deterring them from going to "The Dark Knight Rises," or to the movies in general.
It was business as usual all day Friday at the AMC Rosedale 14 Theaters where the Batman film was scheduled to play at least 16 times on three screens.
"I still want to see the movie," said Jeff Hurdle.
"It didn't stop us from coming," said Linda Morten.
"When I went to go get tickets they were just sold out right now," said Todd Parkas.
Still the subject of theater safety was front and center. In Washington, the Homeland Security Department held a conference call with officials from the commercial, entertainment and shopping mall industries to discuss what preventative measures could be taken in the future.
"There's a physical security issue," said Charles Thibodeau, a security consultant and trainer. He used to be director of security at Burnsville Center.
Police sources have said that accused gunman James Holmes purchased his movie ticket and walked into the theater, then snuck out an exit door and left it propped open so he could re-enter.
That has experts like Thibodeau concerned. "It sounds like the big weakness in this case was a weak perimeter," he said.
The AMC Theater chain announced it will not allow anyone into its theaters "in costumes that make other guests feel uncomfortable," and it also won't permit "face covering masks or fake weapons".
A federal law enforcement official revealed to several media outlets that Holmes had colored his hair red and told police that he was "The Joker."
The National Association of Theater Owners said it was "working closely with law enforcement authorities and reviewing their security procedures." Police departments like Roseville were among the many that immediately coordinated with theater managers. According to Lt. Lorne Rosand, "They will be getting some more patrols just because of this event until we can learn more about what happened."
At Mall of America in Bloomington, where "The Dark Knight Rises" is playing on five screens, officials say they are "taking extra precautions through the weekend and beyond." They won't specify what exactly those are, except to say "some will be noticeable, some won't be."
Bloomington police say they're adding additional uniformed patrols around the mall as a deterrent.
In St. Louis Park, where the movie is showing on three screens, police say a visible presence will also be noticeable to theater-goers.
There are no reports of any theater cancelling any of its Batman showings.
Mark Saxenmeyer can reached at email@example.com
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