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A Pennsylvania man is facing criminal charges for his role in a movie-theater fight that sent panicked audience members running for the exits during a screening of The Dark Knight Rises, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
The crowd was reportedly sent scrambling at the Waterfront on Sunday night, only two days after James Holmes allegedly shot and killed 12 people and injured 58 others at a midnight screening of the movie in Aurora, Colo.
Police said the fight at the Waterfront started in a bathroom, where a child knocked on a stall door. After the man inside repeatedly told him there was someone inside the stall, the child reportedly swore at the individual, who then confronted the boy’s mother and punched her in the face, according to police.
At some point during the argument, a moviegoer shouted “Gun!,” which sparked the panic inside the theater. A call was made to 911 from inside the theater at about 6:15 p.m.
Police have not released the name of the 51-year-old man, who will be charged with simple assault, disorderly conduct and harassment.
A moviegoer told the Post-Gazette that some people had fallen in the aisle during the stampede and that some were “very scared.” Another witness said he thought the shooting in Aurora escalated the panic.
Homestead Police Chief Jeffrey DeSimone admitted that the crowd was probably a little quicker to panic because of the Aurora shootings, but added: “It happened before and it will probably happen again. Unfortunately, that’s just the world we live in.”
According to the Post-Gazette, that same theater’s lobby was the site of a fatal shooting in 2005.
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