It seemed to be yet another crazed gunman looking to kill as many innocent people as possible. The venue for the attack was a movie theater known for their anti-gun policy, which would ensure plenty of helpless victims.
The suspect was reportedly well armed. He had a gun, pepper spray, and a hatchet.
He was also carrying two backpacks, and no one knew what was tucked away inside.
So all of the basic elements were there for an active shooter who had spent months planning his hellish last stand, but the details rang false.
The movie had been out for months, long enough for interest to wane, and was shown at 13:00 hours (1:00 PM). Only seven people were in attendance.
The suspect started to attack other people with the pepper spray and hatchet, but didn’t shoot anyone. Although one patron suffered a hatchet wound on the shoulder, and a total of three were doused with spray, everyone managed to run out of the theater without getting killed.
It makes sense that he wasn’t trying to shoot anyone because he wasn’t armed with an actual firearm. The gun he had was an airsoft toy, a gun that shoots soft plastic pellets.
A lone police officer entered the dark theater after the terrified ticket buyers made their escape. He initially reported that he exchanged gunfire with the suspect.
This might seem rather odd to some. Wasn’t the suspect shooting off a toy?
It was indeed a toy but some of them are made to make a fairly loud noise, which aligns with the goal of making the replica as realistic as possible. The noise produced is not as loud as an actual firearm, but that little detail would probably be lost if one thought they were in a life-or-death situation.
The officer left the theater, other officers took up positions at the rear of the building in case the suspect tried to leave by the back doors, and the SWAT team was called in. They apparently gave the suspect many chances to give up, but he refused to cooperate. He was finally killed by officers outside when he tried to leave by the aforementioned back doors with a backpack strapped to his chest.
It looks to me like the police did the best they could under the circumstances. Surprising no one, the suspect turns out to be a mentally disturbed young man with a long history of bad behavior. Goodness only knows what was going through what was left of his mind, but it appears to me that he was given multiple chances to accept the help he needed. The pity is that nothing worked.
I think your title has it right: Suicide by Cop. It looks to me like he was trying to get himself shot.
I was at a movie last night (Mr Holmes, in case you’re interested) and the ticket collector, a young lady of maybe 20, asked to look in my wife’s purse. They now check “backpacks”.
I didn’t ask what her training was, could she distinguish between a breath spray and pepper spray. Could she tell the difference between the slide here, the frame under that and the barrel in another pocket all of which can be assembled into a gun.
I purposely didn’t asked her if she was knew she was looking at the wrong person.
Unfortunately, these incidents are like slapping your knew with a rubber hammer.
Does pretty much sound like this; in this day and age backpack on chest is going to scream “Suicide bomber!”
Can’t help feeling that if the young man had just called a helpline, things might have been different. NB *might.*
The “exchange of fire” inside the theatre sounds odd. But then again, it goes to show just how confusing stress situations can be.