A California man who likes to preach in public during the closing credits of a movie caused a panicked stampede among his fellow moviegoers when they misunderstood his intentions.
A man began shouting about God and jumped from his seat at the end of Avengers: Infinity War Thursday night at the Redlands Harkins Theater — leading to erroneous calls to police about shots fired, Redlands police said.
Just after 10 p.m., police started receiving several calls about a man who had leaped from the upper-seating area of a theater to the ground.
The situation turned legitimately dangerous when amped-up cops arrived in great numbers, believing that a 911 call saying dozens of shot had been fired was genuine.
After the proverbial dust settled, officers took Michael Ray Webber, 29, into custody.
He had stood up at the end of the Marvel film screening, threw his hands up and started shouting about God, officials said, and jumped. Webber told officers he was not under the influence and he said he preaches about God all the time at the end of movies. He said he specifically held up his hands so that people would see that he was not armed.
I don’t blame anyone for panicking. The kind of leap Webber made, and his ensuing fulminations, are unnerving all by themselves. Moreover, anyone crazy enough to, post-Aurora, disrupt the peace in a movie theater by ranting loudly about God and heaven may very well intend to make his reluctant audience acutely familiar with both.
During the confusion, several people tried to escape the screening room, including one woman who jumped over the railing to the ground 20 feet below, officials said. She was trampled by several people scrambling out of the theater and had to be taken to an area hospital.
Police officers checked Webber’s home and determined that he was unlikely to be a real threat. Webber was arrested on suspicion of uttering
… offensive language likely to cause a violent reaction, officials said.
Let’s see how long it takes for Todd Starnes and other persecution junkies to cry foul over a freelance preacher getting arrested for using Bible-inspired “offensive language.”
(Image via Shutterstock)