Moviegoers who were watching the psychological thriller “The Gift” thought that they will be the modern-day victims of “Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” Three pranksters entered the cinema, shouted something vague and started a machine that sounded like a chainsaw but was only a leaf-blower.
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Pranksters caused stampede in Newport Beach theater
On Saturday, minutes after 11 p.m., three pranksters entered the Edwards Big Newport 6 movie theater through the emergency door, CBS Los Angeles reported. One of the suspects was holding something described by witnesses as “some type of loud, handheld machine.” After shouting something unclear, the suspect then shook the “machine” and fired up its motor to make a more terrifying loud sound. The three men then exited the same emergency door they entered as if nothing happened.
However, the moviegoers they pranked were left thinking that they were going to be killed. A stampede ensued and some of them were hurt.
“You’re literally thinking (about) ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre,’ like there’s crazy people out there. You’re in a theater, and you think you’re going to die,” one of the moviegoer told CBS LA.
“People started screaming, and everybody got up and started running, like fight-or-flight, and some lady pushed me and I fell on the ground, and like seven or eight people trampled over my leg, and over my head,” another said.
One woman who had spoken with Orange County Register said she was stepped on after being pushed to the ground.
“At least eight people just stepped on and over me,” Kyndall Aldama of Huntington Beach said.
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Orange County cinemas beefed up security
Movie houses in Orange County had now beefed up securities in the wake of what happened. Police in Orange County said that with all the shootings and killings that happened in theater in the past, they are taking this pranks as serious as it can be.
“Obviously, with everything that’s going on with the world, (movie theater incidents) are something we’re very cognizant of, so we’ll take extra time to do patrol checks,” said Lt. Eric Trapp of the Anaheim Police Department.
“This is something we’d normally do anyway because (movie theaters) are heavily populated,” said Sgt. Kathryn Hamel of the Fullerton Police Department.