A 37-year-old man was taken into custody after it is alleged he brought weapons into a movie theatre showing "The Dark Knight Rises." He faces 21 weapons charges.
Scott Smith made a video appearance yesterday before Cuyahoga Common Pleas Judge Robert McClelland to be arraigned on the charges. Bond was set at $250,000.
Smith is facing 19 charges of possession of a weapon with a disability, carrying a concealed weapon (firearms) and an additional count of carrying a concealed weapon (knives). The "disability" relates to the fact Smith is taking Percocet, a painkiller. Prosecutors believe he may also be taking sleeping medication.
According to WFMY, Smith went to the Westlake, Ohio theatre last Saturday and bought a ticket to the 10:30 pm. showing of The Dark Knight Rises. He was the first patron to enter the theatre and sat in the rear with his back to a wall.
Jeremiah Bullins, an off-duty Westlake police officer who was working security, became suspicious of where Smith chose to sit and the fact he brought a bag into the theatre. Bullins and the manager of the theatre approached the 37-year-old.
At the time the two confronted Smith, it is estimated there were between 70 and 80 people in the theatre and the bag was on the floor. Bullins asked if he could look in the bag and Smith consented to the search. The officer allegedly found a loaded pistol, ammunition, and three knives in the satchel. Another knife was later found on Smith's person.
A search of Smith's home turned up more weapons.
Lt. Ray Arcuri, of the Westlake Police Department, told CNN that Smith's decision to sit where he did was made for "tactical" reasons. No one could approach him from the back and he could have fired the gun in front of him, or to the right or the left. He had a clear shot of all other customers in the theatre. Smith is alleged to have told Bullins he had the weapons for self defense. On July 20, a gunman opened fire in an Aurora, Colorado theatre showing The Dark Knight Rises, killing 12 people and wounding another 58.
Smith's attorney, Matthew Bruce, was quoted in the Cleveland Plain Dealer as saying, "He had no intention of harming anyone or himself that night. This whole thing has been blown way out of proportion...He owns weapons, which are legal."
Bruce plans to apply for a reduction of Smith's bond.
As reported by Channel 5 News, Smith is currently studying psychology at Cleveland State University and works from home. He has a wife and two children and according to the Westlake Police Department, he has no criminal record.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled to begin Tuesday afternoon.