Colorado Shooting Prompts Heightened Awareness at Some Area Theatres
AMC Theatres are banning costume masks. Police in some area communities around St. Louis County plan to increase patrols at local theaters.
The mass shooting at the première of "The Dark Knight Rises" in Aurora, CO, has prompted some St. Louis-area movie theaters to consider increased security.
At approximately 1 a.m. Friday, a man wearing a gas mask entered the Colorado theater during the midnight showing of the newest Batman movie, hurled a gas canister and then began shooting, the Associated Press reported. At least 50 are injured and 12 have been confirmed dead.
Police took 24-year old James Holmes into custody for the shooting early Friday morning. No motive has been released.
The shooting has prompted movie theaters locally and across the country to work with local police.
In St. Charles, there are no plans yet to increase police patrols around Wehrenberg St. Charles 18 Cinema. Lt. Dave Senter, St. Charles Police Department spokesman, said the senior staff hadn't yet met to discuss the incident. St. Charles police officers are employed at the theatre in an off-duty capacity, he said.
In Creve Coeur, on duty Creve Coeur police officers plan to conduct extra foot patrols inside the two AMC theatres and patrols of the lots and surrounding areas.
AMC Theaters, which operates two theaters in Creve Coeur and one in Chesterfield among more than 5,000 across the country, said in a statement Friday it was "actively working with local law enforcement in communities throughout the nation and under the circumstances we are reaching out to all of our theatres to review our safety and security procedures."
AMC also announced on its Facebook page a ban on "costumes that make other guests feel uncomfortable and we will not permit face-covering masks or fake weapons inside our buildings."
St. Charles 18 Cinema held a Dark Knight Marathon on Thursday, showing "Batman Begins" followed by "The Dark Knight" and finally, the premiere of "The Dark Knight Rises."
In Affton, movie goers can expect to see St. Louis County Police at Ronnie's Plaza.
Kelly Hoskins, VP of Wehrenberg theaters, which has nearby locations in Des Peres and Chesterfield, said the only change movie-goers will see in the theater is the added visibility of managers and staff.
Managers also go through extensive panic button training and check auditoriums on routine basis.
The long-anticipated Batman movie is the third starring Christian Bale as the masked hero. It is directed by Christopher Nolan and produced by Warner Brothers Studios.
The incident has prompted officials to cancel the midnight premiere in Paris.
Gregg Palermo contributed to this article.
Correction: This article has been corrected to reflect that St. Charles Police Officers work at Wehrenberg Theaters while off duty.