Miami Beach Man Arrested in "Dark Knight" Theater Panic

Man paced theater, screamed "This is it" during movie showing: Police

By Brian Hamacher, Ari Odzer and Christina Hernandez
|  Wednesday, Aug 1, 2012  |  Updated 7:03 AM EDT
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David Martin Escamillo is facing charges after police say he caused a panic in a Miami Beach movie theater during a showing of

David Martin Escamillo is facing charges after police say he caused a panic in a Miami Beach movie theater during a showing of "The Dark Knight Rises."

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Miami Beach Man Busted in "Dark Knight" Panic

David Martin Escamillo was at the Regal Movie Theater at 1120 Lincoln Road around midnight Tuesday when he got into an altercation with another moviegoer, left the theater and returned wearing black gloves and screamed "This is it" from the back of the theater, police said. Witness James Butler and Miami Beach Police Sgt. Bobby Hernandez discuss the incident.

RAW VIDEO: Scene Outside Miami Beach Theater After Moviegoer Causes Panic

Police respond to the Regal Theaters at 1120 Lincoln Road after authorities say a man caused a panic during a showing of "The Dark Knight Rises." Police say 44-year-old David Martin Escamillo was arrested and faces disorderly conduct charges.
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A Miami Beach man is in custody after he caused a panic in a theater during a showing of "The Dark Knight Rises," police said Tuesday.

According to a Miami Beach Police arrest affidavit, 44-year-old David Martin Escamillo was at the Regal Movie Theater at 1120 Lincoln Road around midnight Tuesday when he got into an altercation with another moviegoer, left the theater and returned wearing black gloves and screamed "This is it" from the back of the theater.

Escamillo's actions caused a panic inside the theater and sent a hundred moviegoers fleeing for the exits, the affidavit said.

When officers responded to the theater to a call of shots fired, they found three moviegoers detaining Escamillo, who was screaming "I didn't shoot anybody," the affidavit said.

James Butler said he and his brother were two of them. They waited outside the theater and chased Escamillo down and held him until police arrived.

"My instincts kicked in, and I was like, let's get this guy. He was screaming, 'I never shot anyone, I never hurt anyone,'" Butler said.

Escamillo, who sounded irrational and had a strong smell of alcohol on his breath, was taken into custody, the affidavit noted.

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"We were able to determine there was never any weapon, it was just this individual with the two black gloves saying, 'This is it,'" Miami Beach Police Sgt. Bobby Hernandez said.

Witnesses said Escamillo had left his seat during the movie and was going up and down the stairway several times, according to the affidavit.

The witnesses also said no shots were fired and no shell casings were found, the affidavit said.

When officers searched the theater, they found several sandals that were left behind by moviegoers who fled the scene.

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Escamillo is facing disorderly conduct and affray charges in the incident and has a warrant for battery, jail records showed. He was being held on $8,000 bond and it was unknown whether he has an attorney.

The theater declined to comment Tuesday.

The incident comes just days after 12 people were killed and dozens injured in a shooting in an Aurora, Colorado theater during a showing of "The Dark Knight Rises."

Police said they responded with massive force here because of what happened in Colorado.

"We can't take any chances, and we also understand the sensitivity of that, everybody's thinking Colorado, it's on everybody's mind," Hernandez said.

He added, "Had that incident not happened in Colorado maybe none of this would've happened, maybe people would've just thought, here's another nut and let's just keep watching our movie."

While some may be thinking about the scare, other ticketholders say they aren't going to let it affect them.

"If we focus on the negative energy, we're giving more power to them, so I try to avoid that," moviegoer Jose Salaicez said.

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