Thursday afternoon a man carrying a shotgun, three handguns and multiple knives was arrested at Phoenix Comicon. The thirty year old man, who has not been publicly identified yet, was allegedly taking photos of police officers present. Authorities believe he had intended to harm or kill police, but was taken into custody before he was given a chance.
In response, the convention has banned all weapons from the event for the duration of the weekend, including props and toy guns. The convention will also be increasing security at the event, which they announced in an official statement on Facebook.
Conventions are, like any gathering, targets for potential hostile acts. Honestly, this reminds me of the two young men arrested in 2015 prior to the Pokemon World Championship in Boston, MA. In both of these cases, tragedy was averted because concerned members of the community alerted authorities when something just didn’t feel right. It should be noted that other cons taking place this weekend were already on high alert, due to the recent Manchester bombings. Alamo City Comic Con had already announced extensive security restrictions prior to the events in Phoenix, AZ.
We got lucky again, but only because people were vigilant.
Update: The individual arrested has been revealed to be a man named Mathew Sterling. Sterling stated to police he intended to shoot not just officers but also actor Jason David Frank. Sterling also had been intentionally avoiding weapon check stations, and was allegedly dressed in cosplay as The Punisher.
Via 12 News