Drunk Man Accidentally Shoots Woman In Movie Theater

By McCarton Ackerman 01/25/16

A woman was shot in the shoulder during a screening of Michael Bay's 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.


A Washington state movie showing turned into pandemonium after a drunk man accidentally opened fire in a theater and shot a woman in the shoulder.

The incident took place last Thursday in the town of Renton, during a screening of 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi. The 29-year-old man, whose name has not been publicly revealed, was reportedly “stumbling and appeared to be impaired” when he walked inside, according to Renton police detective Robert Onishi.

Renton Police Department’s David Liebman said the man then “took a seat in theater No. 9 and was fumbling with a pistol when it went off and struck someone sitting in front of him.” Although it’s legal for Washington residents to open carry a handgun without a permit, police later confirmed that he had a permit to carry the weapon.

After accidentally shooting the 40-year-old woman, he then tried to leave the scene while still holding the pistol. Onishi said the man “dumped the magazine of the gun in the trash can of the theater” and went home because “he was upset and wanted to talk to family.”

The man’s wife found the pistol in the driveway of their home and his family reportedly called 911 after hearing about the incident from local news coverage. He has been booked on charges of third-degree assault. Meanwhile, the shooting victim had her condition recently upgraded from critical to “serious, but improving” due to the bullet missing major arteries. She also said that she has never met the man who shot her. Her family has declined to talk to media outlets.

Some theater companies have recently put policies in place to help prevent such incidents from occurring. In the wake of more high-profile theater shootings across the United States in recent years, Regal Cinemas announced last August that they would begin searching the belongings of customers before entering their facilities.

The decision was met with backlash by gun owners who complained about conceal carry rights. “Just returned 2 movie tickets because ticket collector wanted to check my bag for a gun,” wrote one woman on the company’s Facebook page. “Didn’t ask to frisk my husband who was also carrying so I guess your policy isn’t flawless.”

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.