ARLINGTON, Va. — The Arlington County Police are working to figure out who sent a theater into chaos over the weekend.
Police said a boy ran into a theater that was screening “IT Chapter Two” and yelled that there was a shooter.
That caused a mass panic as people ran from the theater and police lined the streets as they searched for a gunman. Police didn’t find any shooting victims, or a gunman.
“The Arlington County Police Department continues to investigate the incident, including the possible identity of the subject,” Ashley Savage with the Arlington County Police said on Monday. “If the subject is identified, police will work in consultation with the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office to determine appropriate charges based on the evidence.”
According to a Fairfax attorney, the person who yelled into a theater and set off pandemonium could face some major legal ramifications for his illegal act.
“Hoaxes can be punished as felonies they can be punished as misdemeanors it really depends on precisely what happened during the incident, but it's generally addressed very seriously,” Christie Leary said. “It’s something that the community at large doesn't want to encourage and in fact wants to discourage that from happening.”
"I always look for the exits and pick my seat based on that, just because it's a sad reality of how things are,” Patrick French, an avid moviegoer said.
French said he already has a heightened sense of security, and Leary said situations like what happened at the theater can have a personal impact on people.
“It has an impact on people on a personal level, it has an impact to the community from the standpoint of here's this person that's yelled out a fake hoax,” Leary said. “It's a ripple effect of problems from an individual level to a community level.”
Officials with the Arlington County Police Department said if the person is identified, they will work with the Commonwealth Attorney’s office to determine appropriate charges.
Anyone with information on this incident should call Arlington County police at 866-411-TIPS (8477).