Missouri Theater Slammed For Iron Man Event Featuring Men With Fake Tactical Gear, Guns

Categories: News

iron-man-costumes.jpg
via Facebook
Iron Man costumes at Capital 8 Theaters.
The Goodrich Capital 8 Theaters in Jefferson City is facing a lot of backlash this week over an Iron Man 3 event featuring men in fake tactical gear and some with toy guns. Management says it was all part of a fun event involving local comic book fans -- and that the whole incident is being blown way out of proportion.

"There was no incident," Goodrich Capital 8 Theaters Manager Bob Wilkins tells Daily RFT. "This is one guy going into the middle of the lobby and screaming about a gun. He has caused more issues than anyone with a toy gun could.... There was no scenario that could have possibly been misconstrued for dangerous at all except for this one random overreacting guy.... It was a clear, plastic toy gun."

Police and some frightened moviegoers, however, tell a different story.

"This is in no way, shape or form funny," Jefferson City Police Captain Doug Shoemaker tells Daily RFT. "We are all a little sensitive to the idea of someone walking into a movie theater with a fake gun or a real gun."

The heated criticism -- and now intense media attention -- is in part due to the horrific mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado last year, in which a gunman entered a theater and killed twelve people and injured dozens more with an assault rifle -- during the midnight premier of a superhero movie.

"We take this extremely seriously," Shoemaker says.

capital8theaters.jpg
via Facebook
Capital 8 Theater.

Wilkins' version of the story is that one man with a black shirt and pants and a plastic toy gun -- based on a rifle and with an orange tip -- entered the theater and was clearly part of the planned weekend events coordinated with a local comic group called Cosplacon.

"They've been here for every superhero movie, every zombie movie," Wilkins says. "They dress up in random costumes.... It's just a bunch of kids getting together."

Wilkins claims that this one individual caused a moviegoer to be extremely concerned and scream about an armed man -- and call 911.

And Shoemaker says police did receive one 911 call in the incident last weekend and says the caller reported that there were three people in tactical gear, carrying rifles.

"It ended up causing some concern," he says.

Once it was investigated, it was clear that there was no threat and Wilkins says that the theater even had a Jefferson City uniformed officer in the building the whole time.

Wilkins confirms that there were other attendees that were wearing fake tactical gear with fake firearms -- but argues that they weren't the ones that scared the moviegoer, even if police did locate them when they arrived.

Wilkins says the theater also had a man in an Iron Man suit on scene and that the one guy who the moviegoer spotted was with the man in the costume.

iron-man-jeff-city.jpg
via Facebook

Wilkins says that thousands of people passed through the theater over the weekend and that "the one person that said anything is the only one that had an issue."

A local Jefferson City station has an account from an Army war veteran who says he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and was very frightened by the "publicity stunt." Now, he's more upset that the theater is not apologizing.

There were no arrests and no laws were broken, police say.

"Our working relationship with the theater has been very good," he says, but adds that after this incident, "We had a discussion with theater management."

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin.

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33 comments
James Madison
James Madison

You considered a law-abiding citizen carrying a legal instrument as terrifying. You might wish to explain that. I do not use the terror as lightly as you have done. A toy gun is simply not terrifying to me. A real gun is not terrifying to me either. Police carry guns all the time, and I am not terrified of them. Why should I be terrified of a law-abiding citizen publicly carrying a legal firearm? Do you only believe a person's right to bear a firearm is in the privacy of their own home or at the rifle range? Just what do you support when it comes to the Second Amendment?

Brittney Dugger
Brittney Dugger

Um, I have no problem with people owning and carrying guns. The point I was making was that I was surprised no one was hurt out of genuine concern for the public, in an accidental shooting. I never read that it was a clear toy gun, until I am now reading comments on this thread. So, not that I give a hoot what you think, but a normal person would admit their wrong and apologize for harsh language toward another. My panties aren't wet, sir. I believe in a person's 2nd Amendment rights...

James Madison
James Madison

Everyone? Really? I am not terrified of toys. You might be, but you can seek help with coping to everyday life. Mental health is a precious thing, that many willingly lose. Good news, with help, you might find yours once again.

James Madison
James Madison

Arrested? You want people arrested for no crime at all? It was a TOY gun. Perhaps we should arrest folks who call for law-abiding people to be arrested. Ironic, eh?

James Madison
James Madison

Terrifying joke? Are your terrorized by an armed policeman? What about soldiers marching in the upcoming Memorial Day parades? There is no terror in honest, law-abiding people carrying a firearm. Absolutely no terror in them carrying a toy gun. Go read the definition of "terrifying" and report back when you dried your panties.

James Madison
James Madison

Totally blown out of proportions. Law-abiding people carrying a firearms is no reason to panic or jump to the conclusion they will shot someone. Do those that think different run and hide when a policeman walks his beat? We ought not be afraid of honest people carrying a firearm, especially a toy gun.

Brian Boyd
Brian Boyd

I wasn't there. Any comment would be pure speculation.

Casey Kohler
Casey Kohler

Blown out of proportion, much like our ideas of gun control. Fucking gun control nuts.

Jimmie Thomptson
Jimmie Thomptson

geeze people, have you ever tried having fun in your life??? living your lives in paranoid fear is sick...

Joni Hoscher
Joni Hoscher

The theatre was in the stupid. Much like MO State Government...

Blake Harris
Blake Harris

Sounds like much ado about nothing, they should charge the guy that basically yelled fire in a crowded theater, thought you weren't allowed to do that..

Dustin Triplett
Dustin Triplett

Their little event clearly wasn't thought out, but at the same time it's not like a sane person would see Iron Man and some goons and not be able to connect the dots that it's for a staged event.

Bob Ell
Bob Ell

I have mixed feelings about this - on one hand, the weapons were obviously fake, as they had bright orange tips. But on the other hand, just as there were people in Aurora who thought the real shooter was part of the movie (for reasons still unclear to me), there was bound to be someone who would freak out at the sight of a guy in tactical gear carrying a toy gun. In my opinion, they should have erred on the side of caution and excluded the toy guns from the promotion, and just had someone dressed as Iron Man available for pictures, escorted by some clearly-uniformed movie theater employees.

Christy Taylor
Christy Taylor

It won't be long before it goes out of business...I'd NEVER see a movie there based on this act of ignorance!

DoucheMcGee
DoucheMcGee topcommenter

Ridiculous. One person complains and it's national news?

Brian Blood
Brian Blood

That was done in poor taste and clearly not thought out. It is still too fresh to pull a stunt like this. Very unclassy move, especially in my home state with the CCW laws in MO .. guys lucky he didn't get shot on the spot.

Justice Rising
Justice Rising

thats what will happen when you display acts of stupidty.

Adam Usher
Adam Usher

It was one village idiot that ran to the middle of the movie theater and started shouting is what I'm saying.

Matt Irwin
Matt Irwin

Michael, you should be arrested for overzealousness.

Matt Irwin
Matt Irwin

One village idiot? This is Jeff City we're talking about...

Michael Call
Michael Call

This joke was in very poor taste...the owner should be arrested!

12judges
12judges

Saying nothing for the numerous (possibly dozens) of lawful CCW holders actually carrying guns that night in that movie theater, everyone gets up-in-arms (pun intended) over one hoplophobic idiot who can't recognize a costume and a fake plastic gun (with orange tip).  Quick!  Don't stop to take a closer look, think, and inquire....freak out, everyone, right now!!

The whole incident is being blown way way out of proportion.  Good for you RFT for giving this story the attention it truly doesn't deserve!

Adam Usher
Adam Usher

No, don't apologize. Just cause of one village idiot.

Jennifer Krupp
Jennifer Krupp

It's ridiculous. Where is common sense any more?

Bridget Aholt Blair
Bridget Aholt Blair

NO!!! It was a CLEAR, plastic, toy gun!!! What genuine gun is CLEAR?????

Brittney Dugger
Brittney Dugger

Yes. And Missouri was a stupid place to play this joke, with the concealed carry and all... I'd say they're lucky no one was killed during their terrifying joke.

andre.churchwell
andre.churchwell

@12judges I agree that this has been blown out of proportion, but how are you going to take the time to take a closer look if it was a real gun? Lets say there is not just one idiot in the theatre at the time the fake S.H.E.I.L.D. agent comes in. And he has a CCW on his person... things could been crazier.

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