REDLANDS (CBSLA) — An outing to catch one of the season’s most anticipated films turned into a panic-filled afternoon for some moviegoers Friday.

Armed officers rushed to the Harkins Mountain Grove 16 theaters in Redlands, where people had just finished watching the latest installment of  the “Avengers” franchise, fearing there might a gunman inside. Witnesses said when the movie was over, a man stood up and started yelling in what sounded like a preacher’s sermon.

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“I think when he said, ‘If you were to die tonight, would your passage to heaven be guaranteed?’ — something along those lines — I think that’s when people started panicking,” Susie Arias told CBS2 News.

Arias said she and her partner were able to walk out, but they said people behind them started running and pushing in an effort to exit quickly.

 

“That’s when the kind of chaos happened in the little exit, where people were jumping over the railings, and kind of falling over, twisting their ankles and hitting their head,” recalled Adrian Arias.

In footage taken immediately after the incident, a man can be seen limping out of the theater. Police said a woman hit her head and had to be hospitalized.

“I thought she had fainted, passed out, completely passed out,” said Susie.

The culprit in all this chaos? Michael Webber.

The 28-year-old preacher with Truth and Triumph Ministries told CBS2 via phone he’s preached at the theater before with no problems.

“Last night was an anomaly,” said Webber. “The lights did not turn up for quite a few minutes, and so I really couldn’t see anyone’s reaction except those of the people just right around me.”

He added he didn’t know the people in the theater couldn’t see he had his hands up, showing he did not have a weapon.

“It’s extremely unfortunate that anyone sustained injuries because of this,” lamented Webber. “Again, I was unarmed.”

Susie told CBS2 she wasn’t aware of that at the time, and she didn’t want to take any chances, given what has happened at theaters around the world in recent years, such as the shooting at a theater in Aurora, Colorado in 2012.

“I think that’s why people reacted,” said Susie. “They just felt like, ‘We have to get out, no matter what the cost.'”

Arias said she hopes Webber realizes the fear she caused in others.

“If you’re gonna try to draw people towards the Bible, that’s not the way to do it, and he needs to stop,” admonished Arias.

Webber has been charged with a misdemeanor. He told CBS2 this will not deter his evangelizing, but he might reconsider his setting.

Comments (64)
  1. Yelling something in a theater? M’kay…..

    Sure, you CAN yell “Fire!” in a theater…if there is an actual fire or it is part of the show, but seriously, dude…people didn’t come to hear you preach. They spent money to be entertained.

    Poor life choice. Hopefully a misdemeanor is in his future.

    1. You want him to get a misdemeanor for preaching. Wow. So much for the First Amendment, Dennis.

      1. James Wiske says:

        Freedom of speech is limited to government not being able to interfere with it. If you’re on private property, which the movie theater is, they can kick you out for whatever – hopefully good – reason they have. If I were them, I would ban that moron.

      2. No, we want him to get a misdemeanor for being a twit who caused a panic that terrified a large crowd of people and could have gotten someone badly hurt.

  2. The panic was caused by pagan/Democrats (same thing) being exposed to Christianity

  3. It appears that we have a lot of nut jobs hiding as religious “leaders”….

    1. George Moroz says:

      LOL! You see one nut. Because of your predisposition to be afraid of religion, you announce that they are all around you. They are leaders, huh? They are out to get you, huh?

  4. People SHOULD panic if they aren’t ready to meet God . . .

  5. Twenty years ago this would have only been an annoyance. Nobody would have freaked out.

  6. Brad Ruley says:

    Definitely a super right-wing fundamentalist nutjob.

    1. Brett Patton says:

      And you’re a moron. But then there is no way you don’t know that.

    2. No doubt you are a left wing Bernie Sanders nutjob, Anti Christ Communist.

  7. A woman hit her head, durrrrrr.

  8. Gun nuts, fundamentalists and right-wingers in general, rejoice! Your plan to bring around the downfall of civilization in the hopes of the second coming is working!

    1. What is a “gun nut” and “fundamentalist”?

  9. There are laws against stampeding the sheeple.

  10. good for the guy who spoke out the truth.

  11. Alan Arnold says:

    The level of stupidity of so many is astounding! The preacher is an idiot! I understand that yelling ‘fire’ in a theater is a crime. People panic. What difference in this instance? People paniced! Now, some may wonder if there are more of his compatriots preparing to mow down the people. Therefore, at the very minimum, those hurt should sue his ass. They may not get far, but it surely will inconvenience him and possibly lose his church. He should be barred from all theaters for his stupidity. Unfortunately, we can assume that since anything goes in society today, he will not pay a price or won’t get any justice punishment.

  12. Zak Watson says:

    People say there is a RACE problem. People say this RACE problem will be solved when the third world pours into EVERY and ONLY into White countries.

    People say the only solution to the RACE problem is if ALL and ONLY White countries “assimilate,” i.e., intermarry, with all those non-Whites.

    But if I tell that obvious truth about the ongoing program of genocide against White people, Anti-Whites agree that I am a naziwhowantstokillsixmillionjews.

    Anti-racist is a codeword for anti-White.

  13. I don’t think he realized that there is always another ending after the credits in marvel movies. This is a great story for the Babylon Bee (Christian Onion site )

  14. This Christian looney should be sent to jail..
    Idiot..

  15. Which begs the question: If you died tonight would you wake up in hell of heaven? People panic now at the very thought of that reality. You are going to one place or the other. Thank the preacher for bringing it to your attention. You petty snide remarks will not go over very well on judgment day.

  16. John Smith says:

    People today are scared of their own shadows, very sad. It reminds me of that bar a decade or more ago when a dozen or so people suffocated to death after there was a stampede because someone sprayed mace and people thought it was a terrorist attack.

    The street preacher picked a bad location, only because too many people get scared easily and will run over others, shove them to the ground, place others in harm’s way, etc. to escape any perceived threat to themselves.

    It used to be when someone acting hysterical would get slapped in the face, or placed in a padded room, to bring them back to reality. Today it is an heroic act to RUN FOR YOUR LIFE! EVERYONE FOR THEMSELVES!

    ‘If you were to die tonight, would your passage to heaven be guaranteed?’…Loving words that will be considered hate speech shortly in the U.S., as it is in most of the world today.

  17. While probably not the brightest thing he could have done or the correct venue for this message, the message none the less was a valid question that all should answer for themselves personally regardless of their religious or non-religious beliefs.

    Even aside from the ‘passage to heaven be guaranteed’ bit, what does the individual really believe will be his or her final outcome in death? We tend to think, ‘oh that is not going to me so I don’t need to think about it’ and when death takes us are totally unprepared for it. Or we may tell ourselves, ‘That happens to the other guy but it isn’t going to happen to me.’ But the media is full of news that tells a much different story.

    There is a saying that goes something like ‘nobody makes it out alive’ meaning that sooner or later death is going to be the inevitable outcome for everyone. Given that few wake up in the morning say, ‘I think I am going to die today’ and for many death takes them without forewarning, isn’t it possibly a good idea to ask yourself this question honestly and honestly give yourself an answer?

    It’s apparent from the panic reaction of those who fled for their lives that they obviously had not answered the question for themselves adequately.

  18. Terrorism, has won. People react like chickens with their heads cut off at the drop of a hat. Kind of like traders on the trading floor on Wall Street.

  19. Really dumb. In a theater? If he wanted to proselytize, he should have done so outside of the theater.

  20. Scotty Gunn says:

    I have my beliefs and respect most others. However, yelling them in a movie theater that I paid for? No. Time and place for everything, and that certainly wasn’t it.

    1. Yeah, if liberals kept their beliefs to themselves, the world would be a MUCH better place!

  21. Jeff Stone says:

    If you really want to turn people off to Christianity, do dumb things like that young preacher…the timing of it, all wrong. What’s he doing, discussing “dying and going to heaven” if he himself is watching a kid’s movie with everyone else. Pick your spot dum dum.

  22. Jeff Stone says:

    Why don’t people say anything when Black kids start rapping OFFENSIVE LYRICS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STREET and act like little aholes, and this preacher doesn’t say one offensive thing, yes, inappropriate time and place…Why the overreaction??? that part I don’t get. What I do know is this: Common Sense in America, DIMINISHING FAST!

    1. James Wiske says:

      1. In the middle of the street, you have more options to avoid the group of kids if you don’t like what they’re doing, or you think they might be dangerous. In a movie theater, you have a couple hundred people with limited movement being frightened.
      2. The middle of the street is public, and free speech is protected there whether you like the rappers or the reverend. On privately owned property, like the theater, you don’t have that right.
      3. Movie theater shootings are still fresh on people’s minds. How stupid do you have to be to stand up and yell at people about dying while the lights are still out? Once he started yelling people are going to start reacting, and the less they will hear. If he starts out talking about dying, the rest will get drowned out, and people will reacting only to that.

  23. The media is soooo disappointed this wasn’t an actual shooting.

  24. Forgive the man people The poor (in this case: in consideration) will always be with us. He will learn his lesson for that we can all pray.

  25. carolebrowngambinogmailcom says:

    This is like screaming “Fire”….in this case ‘Hell fire’ …..

  26. Steve Hollar says:

    Have we really become this paranoid?

  27. The City of Angels is obviously now the City of Snowflakes.

  28. All part of the long term plan to make Christians out to look crazy. It’s like how they deployed Alex Jones to delegitimize any questioning of official narratives as “crazy conspiracy theorists”.

  29. Lar Jam says:

    This incident is nothing compared to if you die without confessing that Jesus is your Lord and Savior. He allows everyone to make their own choice. The book of Matthew in the Bible says that when the time comes angels will be sent to separate Righteous versus Unrighteous. Righteous will go be with the father in Heaven while the unrighteous will be sent to the lake of burning fire. This is for Eternity. Gnashing of teeth and screams of pain is all you have to look forward to. This Christian man is right to warn people NOW for tomorrow maybe too late. Accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior TODAY!

  30. The Bible may cause you pain with the truth but it will never compromise the truth to comfort you.

  31. I have a website entirely devoted to the modern, technological equivalent of shouting “FIRE” in a crowded theater. It could be the next 9/11 – a “dominipede” or domino stampede. Likely impacting the NFL 1 o’clock slate. agsaf.org (Artificially Generated Stampede Awareness Foundation)

  32. Sam Williams says:

    There is a time and a place for preaching and a privately owned movie theater is not the place nor the time. People are there to watch a movie – not be preached to. Yes, I am Christian, but not an obnoxious, self-righteous one whose arrogance leads me to believe I am going to Heaven but people I don’t even know anything about are not. It is the evangelicals that give Christians a bad name and this just proves it.

    The comments here – so much self-aggrandizing as if going to church automatically equates to being Heaven-bound. Ridiculous.

    Right wings either spouting hate and white supremacy under the guise of “immigration control” while at the same time supporting a nut job whose “family values” campaign has proven him to be a liar of the highest degree. What a bunch of ignorant morons. As if you’re going to Heaven but the rest of us are not. pffft…..complete and utter delusion, but if that helps you sleep at night…whatever.

  33. I would have punched this guy in the side of his head.

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