Earlier today a man armed with multiple weapons was taken into police custody at Phoenix Comicon 2017. According to a report by ABC 15, the 31 year old Valley man had in his possession three handguns, a shotgun, knives, and ammunition. He was also posting photos of officers onto social media from the event and was taken into custody for allegedly threatening to cause harm to the officers.
When detained in the Phoenix Convention Center the suspect struggled against the officers. Phoenix police will be updating security at the facility which will include additional screening and fewer accessible entrances to the convention center. No injuries have been reported from the incident.
Here are four things about the current Phoenix Comicon security increase;
Leave the weapons at home
Officials will be on the lookout for anything that resembles a weapon, real or not, including costume props. If you bring it to the Convention Center, you will not be allowed in, according to Phoenix police. Leave them at home or in the car.
Added security screening
Police said all Comicon attendees will have to go through an added security screening. Make sure to give yourself extra time to go through the screening. More than 110,000 people are expected to attend Comicon this weekend.
Fewer entry points
Police have reduced the number of entrances into Comicon. That, along with the security screening, will likely cause a wait to get in — another reason to get there early and give yourself extra time. Be patient.
More officers around
Expect to see more law enforcement officers around the Phoenix Convention Center and inside the exhibition hall, police said.
It’s incidents such as this that ruins it for the rest of us. To all those at Phoenix Comicon or similar events this weekend be safe!
Big security changes for @PhoenixComicon:
– No weapons, prop weapons of any kind allowed
– Added security screening
– More officers present
— Josh Frigerio, ABC15 (@JoshFrigerio) May 25, 2017
The suspect in this incident has been revealed to be 31 year old Matthew Sterling and a judge has set his bond at $1 million on Friday. According to court documents, Phoenix police received a call from the Hawthorne Police Department in California. A witness revealed to be Rayko Dig reported that after reading a Facebook message from Sterling who posted photos of Phoenix police officers and threatening to shoot them.
When approached by officers Sterling resisted and even ripped of an officer’s police patch on his uniform as he was taken into custody. In the court documents Sterling told the police that he believed that the signs and law prohibiting weapons at the convention center did not apply to him. Sterling had purchased a four day pass to the event and dressed as the Marvel comic book character, the Punisher. In the document it was also revealed that if he deemed officers to be what he called “Aphrodite officers” or “bad” officers, he would shoot them.
Documents also revealed that one of his intended victims would have been actor and mixed martial artist Jason David Frank who is best known as the original Green Ranger from the television series ‘Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers’.
Understandably the weapons ban upset a number of cosplayers and attendees but keep in mind that during an event such as Phoenix Comicon with over 100,000 expected attendees and that the incident happened on day one, it was the right move for the safety of those in attendance. There’s no time to think things through and broad strokes had to be done for the safety of those there.
It would have been impossible to hire and train extra staff to set up a new weapons policy in motion in which staff at checkpoints could enforce what sort of props could be approved and dealing with the arguments with costumers about why their weapons should be allowed. Hopefully when the convention is over those in charge will have a year to polish up a new weapons policy that would be more agreeable.[Source: ABC 15 Arizona]