Phoenix Comicon opened on Thursday. However, by that afternoon, a man armed with four firearms and several knives was arrested by Phoenix police. This had led to increased security checks and a ban being placed on all prop weapons for the remainder of the convention.
According to USA Today, the 30-year-old man was carrying “three handguns and one shotgun,” along with an assortment of knives. The local man was wearing all black, however, it is unclear if he was in costume or not.
Sgt. Mercedes Fortune, a spokesperson for the Phoenix police, issued the following statement as reported by The Hollywood Reporter.
“The suspect was found to be in possession of three handguns, a shotgun, a knife, ammunition, and a variety of other handheld weapons along with wearing body armor. He was immediately removed from the venue and taken to police headquarters for questioning.”
It was also discovered the man had been taking photographs of the Phoenix police and “making menacing social-media posts” according to AZ Central. A woman who knows the man reported him to police, leading to praise for the woman and her actions.
“You always hear us say, if you see something, say something, this is a great example of that: This person saw some behavior that was suspicious. She was receiving information, and she alerted law enforcement.”
While the news of the arrest at the Phoenix Comicon is disturbing, police have stated that there is no further evidence to suggest the man was working as a part of a team. It is most likely this is an “isolated incident.”
As a result of this incident, the Phoenix Comicon will now implement a ban on prop weapons from Friday onward.
So, what does this mean for those attending the Phoenix Comicon in costume?
Previously, those attending could bring prop weapons into the event so long as they were screened first by police or event security. However, this did not seem to occur on Thursday, with the armed man slipping through into the convention while fully armed.
According to Sgt. Fortune, Phoenix Comicon attendees can still enjoy the convention in costume, but must leave their weaponry behind.
“Please leave [prop weapons] at home or in your vehicles, since they will not be allowed into the facility.”
ABC 15 advises that those who bring a weapon to Phoenix Comicon — even a prop weapon — will not gain entry to the event. However, if you do turn up to the event and have your weapons, leave them in the car if you want to attend the event.
Those vendors selling weapons inside Phoenix Comicon will still be able to do so, however, all weaponry must be sealed. Vendors must also advise those who purchase these prop weapons that the product must remained sealed for the duration of the event.
Along with the weapon ban, added screening measures have been put in place since the incident, so ABC 15 advises attendees to be prepared for the wait. It is estimated 110,000 will visit the Phoenix Comicon over the weekend, so added delays are to be expected as a result of this enhanced safety measure.
Phoenix Comicon has also closed some entry points to the convention in an effort to lock down entry points. More police will also be present during the event to help keep things in order.
Are you attending or planning to attend the Phoenix Comicon? Has this arrest changed your mind about going? Let us know by commenting below.
Phoenix Comicon runs Thursday through to Sunday, May 25-28, in Phoenix, Arizona. Ticket prices start from $25 for adults and $10 for children. You can view the complete ticket pricing information here.
[Featured Image by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP Images]