Response to Theater Tragedy

By: Mike McDaniel
By: Mike McDaniel

The shootings in a Colorado movie theater aren't stopping moviegoers in the Magnolia State.

"You can't worry about one crazy guy," said Ian Williams of Jackson.

Williams was in line Friday morning at a theater in Pearl getting a ticket for the same Batman movie that was showing at the time of the shootings. Williams says the actions of one person, although inconceivable, shouldn't scare people away.

"I don't know what you could do to stop something like that," said Williams. "You just got to keep your head around you."

"Vigilance is always the best," said Mississippi's Director of Homeland Security, J. W. Ledbetter.

Ledbetter says folks should always trust their gut when they feel something isn't right, because what happened in Colorado could happen anywhere.

"One of the biggest problems our country faces right now and this is anywhere in the country is the lone wolf active shooter type situation," said Ledbetter.

Law enforcement agencies across the state are on high alert as the state's intelligence center examines the shootings in Colorado for links to Mississippi. So far, Ledbetter says there are no connections. Even so, Ledbetter expects increased security measures in and around movie theaters for the time being.

"Right now I'm sure everybody is tense about this. I'm sure there will be added security now. You'll see more police in the parking lots, you'll see more patrols out there and you may see police walking inside the theaters right now," said Ledbetter.

While Ledbetter feels a copycat is unlikely, Mississippi has seen it's share of shooting tragedies in the past. In 1996 a disgruntled firefighter in Jackson walked into the downtown station and opened fire, killing four people. The following year the same scene was at Pearl High School when a student opened fire, killing two classmates.

It's those sudden acts of violence which Ledbetter says law enforcement agencies are trained for and ready to respond to, so movie fans like Ian Williams can enjoy the show.


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