Woman Shot During Avatar Screening In New Mexico

We've talked before about people being discourteous at movie theaters, but this is a whole order of magnitude more severe: Last night, a woman was shot while watching Avatar at the Century Rio 24 theater complex in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The woman was not fatally injured. It's unclear as to whether the gunfire was accidental or intentional, although the woman was not intentionally targeted. Two suspects have been taken into custody and police are still searching for a third.

After the jump, an account of the shooting from a /Film reader/listener who was there. Please note that the following account actually contains spoilers for Avatar. It is strange for me to type those words in this post, but it's true.

Here's the account of J, who was at the screening:

I went to go see Avatar last night at the Century Rio 24 theater in Albuquerque, NM. We sat in the upper-left of the theater. Midway through Avatar someone near the top of the theater was throwing those little Snap Pop fireworks into the crowd. I knew this because two did land near where my girlfriend, her son and I were sitting. Whoever was doing it stopped though, but I was still a little pissed that it could happen again. However, what happened next was something I would never expect I'd be a part of, and that's a shooting in a theater!

Not long after the Hometree fell in the movie, I hear two LOUD pops and saw one of the flashes near the bottom left of the theater, near the ground floor. My initial reaction was the same A-Hole that was throwing those Snap Pops had decided to graduate to something bigger for a prank. I quickly realized that what I had heard sounded more like a gunshot than a firework. An audible, "Ahhhhhh...." that sounded like a whining was heard and I saw someone throw someones arm over their shoulder and half-run out the right side.

Not long after random people started getting up and running out, including my girlfriend, her son, and I. As we were running out I felt a panic start to set in. People were frantic and not being considerate. I was carrying my girl's son, and she was running ahead and then it dawned on me that someone might have fired into the crowd and the gunman might still be near the doorway. I closed the distance and exited out the main entrance. This happened right when they removed the shoe of what looked like a teenage girl and a small dime-sized mark was visible on her sock. The girl said something like, "Oh my God! What is it, what happened to my foot?"

I knew what happened, she'd been shot. We made a hasty exit while theater managers and other employees ran towards the trouble but we had a small kid with us, we weren't sticking around. As we hopped in the car I noticed my hands were shaking as we were pulling out of the parking lot. As the police cars passed (I counted about 12) I couldn't help but think back to your podcast about which film watching experience was better: watching at home, or with a bunch of people at the theater. In this case I would have rather have been home, lol.

We tried to watch the news for more details but there was only a small mention of the incident on Channel 7.

Pretty crazy stuff. At first I was thinking it was probably someone who knew the girl who dropped a gun and it went off. But later as I thought more about what happened, I think someone just walked through the side and fired into the crowd. In either case, I'm glad no one was hurt. It was a wild night at the movies for sure, and Im still looking forward to seeing the ending to Avatar! :P

Love the site and the podcast!

This incident comes a couple of years after a man was shot during a screening of Benjamin Button in Philadelphia. Two takeaways from this incident: 1) Do not discharge weapons in movie theaters, and 2) If you plan on seeing a movie in America, watch your back. (Of course, I'm just being facetious. Right?)