A man in Phoenix was arrested on Thursday after he allegedly attempted to bring guns and knives into the local Comicon, Phoenix Police told ABC News.
The 30-year-old man was arrested on-site. He was also wearing body armor.
According to police, the man also made threats against authorities on social media prior to the incident.
The man, who was not identified by police, is currently at police headquarters with detectives.
In response to the incident, Phoenix Comicon posted on Facebook about updated screenings and new rules on bringing prop weapons into the convention.
"This screening includes three dedicated access points, no longer allowing costume props within our convention or the Convention Center, and other methods as determined in conjunction with the Convention Center and Phoenix Police Department," the statement read. "We anticipate some delays as you are entering the building and we encourage you to carry as little as possible to make the process easier."
The statement added, "All costume props should be left at home, in your car, or in your hotel room. This includes costume props for staff, crew, costuming groups, panelists, and participants in the masquerade ball."
Convention Director Matthew Solberg here with an important and urgent message: In light of recent events, Phoenix Comicon, in cooperation with the Phoenix Convention Center and the Phoenix Police Department, will be implementing enhanced screening to ensure the safety of all our attendees. This screening includes three dedicated access points, no longer allowing costume props within our convention or the Convention Center, and other methods as determined in conjunction with the Convention Center and Phoenix Police Department. We anticipate some delays as you are entering the building and we encourage you to carry as little as possible to make the process easier. These new policies will take effect starting tomorrow, Friday, May 26th. The three access points for entrance into the Convention Center with those who have a valid badge: West Building entrance at 2nd Street, between Washington and Monroe. Third Street at Washington Third Street at Monroe For those who need to collect their badge from registration you will ONLY be able to use the access point at Third Street at Monroe. Con on Third will no longer be open to the public, and will require a valid badge to enter. Costume props will no longer be allowed on-site. All costume props should be left at home, in your car, or in your hotel room. This includes costume props for staff, crew, costuming groups, panelists, and participants in the masquerade ball. Any panels or activities impacted by this change will be updated on the website soon. All costume props are no longer allowed, including foam and cardboard props, shields and sabers. Purchased props will be wrapped by the vendors and must remain so while they are on-site. We encourage you to take your purchases to your car or hotel as soon as possible after purchase. We understand these are last minute changes as a result of recent events. We appreciate your patience as we continue to ensure the safety and enjoyment of all our patrons and we look forward to a great event. Matthew Solberg Convention Director
- Mathew Sterling, 29, posted threats on Facebook saying he would kill police at the Phoenix Comicon Thursday - Was arrested at the event after a struggle and told officers he was the 'Punisher' - Brought four loaded guns, pepper spray, a knife and throwing stars into the convention as the crime-fighting comic book character - Police say Sterling appears to have mental issues - He appeared in court Friday and is being held on $1million cash bond
Increased security may be a good thing. With these cosplay people all over the place at these conventions, maybe they'll stay at home instead of showing off how cool they think they look in those costumes with their swords and guns.
Post by steveinthecity on May 27, 2017 8:24:47 GMT -8
I have mixed feelings regarding banning props. While I'm not a cosplayer or particularly a fan, some costumes can be quite creative and well done. I respect that cosplay is part of current fandom though I think it skews more to the movie crowd than the traditional comic book crowd. I also think the cosplayers help generate enthusiasm for the casual fan and most certainly for younger kids. The cosplayers get the conventions shown on local news stations, not some old book in a plastic bag hanging on a booths wall.
Almost anything that can spur interest in comics is a good thing methinks. "Thor" walking around without a hammer or the Surfer without his board just won't be the same.
To answer the numerous questions that we have been receiving of late, for the first time in 44 years, we will not be exhibiting at this year's San Diego Comic-Con. I wish that this decision could have been otherwise, but circumstances beyond our control made our further participation impossible. To explain, San Diego has grown far beyond its original premise, morphing from what was originally a wonderful annual gathering of the comics world, into a world-renown pop culture and media festival. As such, it has seen rapidly escalating costs, and also a dramatic change in the demographics of its attendees. Neither of those changes worked to our advantage.
Finished Mile High con booth
To explain a bit more, my first little one-table booth in 1973 cost $40 to rent for the weekend. When we received our booth renewal for last year, our costs for our 70' of space had been raised to over $18,000. While quite costly, that one factor alone would not have precluded us from returning, as we had paid $16,500 in rent the previous year.
What made the situation nearly impossible, however, was that foot traffic in the exhibit hall declined dramatically last year. Even at its peak on Saturday afternoon, our end of the building (which was primarily comics) was uncrowded. The San Diego Fire Marshals were partially to blame, as they put much stricter controls on the number of badge holders allowed in the building at any given time. That might not have been such a bad idea, except that it amplified the harm already being caused by the incredible proliferation of off-site events that are now being set up for upwards of eight blocks all around the convention center. When you can see GAME OF THRONES, POKEMON, and hundreds of other exhibits across from the convention hall for free, why bother going in to the hall? Many fans did not.
Foot traffic on Saturday in the SDCC booth
To summarize, we experienced rising costs, while at the same time foot traffic in our booth plummeted. That is never a good combination. That having been said, I truly loved the experience of exhibiting at San Diego Con, so I can assure you that I would have ignored those two major obstacles, and still renewed my booth. The final straw, however, was the utter indifference of the San Diego Comic-Con management to the fiasco that we endured at the beginning of last year's show, when the freight handlers that they hired failed to deliver our comics to our booth.
Chuck in empty SDCC booth
So how could this awful thing happen? It beats the heck out of me. Our trucker was in line at the convention marshaling yard at 6:30 AM on Tuesday morning. At 9 PM that evening, with almost all the other vendors around us unpacked and completely set up, we still did not have our 40,000 lbs of freight. I had twelve workers scheduled to help us set up that day (included Will, Lynne, and Norrie who flew in from Denver that morning...), but all we could do was to sit around all day in our totally empty booth.
Will, Lynne, and Norrie infront of the finished Mile High con booth
Making matters much worse, at no time during this ordeal (or during the show) did anyone from the convention management stop by with an apology, an explanation, or even just to commiserate. After 44 years of my supporting them through good times and bad, that was just too much indifference to endure. When you are in a relationship out of love and passion, but the other party could care less whether you live or die, you have to realize that it is time to move on. I will very much miss San Diego, but I doubt if the convention management will even notice that I am gone. Such is life.
Moving on to news from our online business, our new 30% off codeword is VACATION! This discount codeword applies to all ten million of our back issue comics and magazines, excluding only new issues, a few variants, and slabbed comics. Please note, however, that we currently are working down a 10-day shipping backlog due to the July 4th holiday and Denver Comic-Con falling on the same weekend. Your patience would be very much appreciated.
Chuck Rozanski, President - Mile High Comics, Inc. July 5, 2017