A showing of Star Trek: Beyond at a Kentucky movie theater turned violent last weekend after a boy kicked a patron’s seat, and the angry patron pulled a gun, the Hollywood Reporter is reporting.
At about 11:50 a.m. Saturday, police were called to the Cinemark theater in Paducah, a Kentucky town of about 25,000 people, just across the Ohio River from southern Illinois.
As moviegoers were enjoying the latest installment of the Star Trek franchise, a young patron — whose age has not been released — for one reason or another kicked the back of the seat in front of him. The man who occupied that seat, an Illinois man whose name has also not been released took exception to being kicked and turned to confront the child.
A post on the Paducah Police Department’s Facebook page explains what happened next.
“Witnesses said the man got up and cursed the youth, asking if he was going to continue kicking his seat. The boy’s father interceded and a fight broke out between the two men. As the father got the upper hand in the fight, witnesses said, the other man pulled a gun and said, ‘What the (expletive) are you going to do now.’ Others in the theater saw the gun, and began running for the exit.”
Fortunately, no shots were fired, and with the help of some Cinemark employees and other patrons, the gunman was escorted outside the theater. They held him outside until cops showed up.
No other theaters at the multiplex were affected by the incident, and Star Trek fans whose movie was interrupted by the scuffle were allowed to return to their seats and finish the movie.
This is not the first time a violent confrontation between patrons at a movie theater has broken out.
Perhaps the most famous, and controversial, incident of movie theater violence happened in January 2014, at a theater in Wesley Chapel South, Florida. As the Tampa Bay Times reported at the time, an altercation broke out as previews were rolling before a showing of Lone Survivor. Chad Oulson, 43, was apparently texting during the previews, and former police captain Curtis Reeves asked him to knock it off. Oulson responded “in a very ugly manner,” according to his wife’s testimony, and the argument went from bad to worse.
— 10News WTSP (@10NewsWTSP) July 6, 2016
What happened next remains a matter of dispute, but Reeves insisted that Oulson threw his cell phone and then a bag of popcorn at him. That’s when Reeves pulled out his gun and shot Oulson dead. Reeves would go on to invoke Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law, which allows a Floridian to use deadly force against an assailant. As of this writing, Reeves’ trial for second-degree murder has still not been completed, according to WTSP (Tampa).
In Paducah, it seems that at least some observers have taken the side of the gunman if reactions to the story on Facebook are to be believed.
Susan Barrington: “All this could have been avoided if the bratty kid has been made to behave himself! 100% kid’s fault.”
Michael Hale: “Boy’s father should have stopped the boy from being disrespectful. Wouldn’t have escalated if respect for other people would’ve been taught.”
Other observers have fallen squarely on the side of the father.
Darla Dobkins-Hicks: “He should of been asked nicely to quit kicking the chair. Then just move if the kicking continued. Sometimes you have to be the better/bigger person.”
Meanwhile, the gunman was banned from Cinemark property forever, and he will appear before a McCracken County judge today to face charges.
[Photo by Thinkstock]