RENTON, Wash. -- A 29-year-old man in Newcastle has been arrested, after firing his gun inside a crowded movie theater. The suspect’s father told police it was an accident, but the man is now facing felony assault charges.
Many movie-goers were surprised to hear that about the shooting that happened inside the Regal Cinemas at the Landing in Renton Thursday night.
“We planned on coming yesterday, but some stuff came up,” says Carlos Orozco. “I’m kind of glad we didn't come, because I don't know what movie he was watching, it could have been me or my girlfriend.”
Police say the shooter was watching the movie “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.” When his gun went off, it went through a seat and hit 40-year-old Michelle Mallari.
Nathaniel Hansen, a veteran with medical training, tried to help her.
“I didn't want her to go into shock, so I just kept talking to her. I said we're here, we're helping you.”
Hansen says he saw the gun in the shooter’s hand as he left the theater.
“I didn't want to chase after him and risk him turning around and shooting me, so I did what I could and held everyone in the theater.”
Police are not naming the suspect, but say he had a valid concealed weapons permit. Witnesses say he appeared to be intoxicated, and he also dropped his weapon at a nearby restaurant.
“If you're carrying, you obviously need to know how to use it,” says Max Burgos. “How to keep it on the safety, the whole proper procedures. And not just carry it around like it's a toy. You got to be careful.”
This theater already has signs up, warning people that their bags can be searched. Some people wonder if movie theaters might go even further now and start adding metal detectors.
“You can't go into a stadium with all those people without passing through a metal detector,” says Robert Montague. “We’re all pretty used to that, so great, put one up.”
Mallari is in satisfactory condition at Harborview Medical Center. She is expected to recover.