Mobile Police Chief James Barber and city officials held a second meeting with Carmike representatives to discuss security stemming from a Christmas night shooting at the Wynnsong 16 that left four people injured.
Barber told members of the Mobile City Council on Tuesday that Carmike’s senior vice-president and chief operating officer were both receptive to police suggestions during the recent meeting, but asked for roughly three weeks to review their security protocols internally. Barber did not go into specifics about what was discussed.
“They share our concerns,” Barber said. “They also share our goals of making the theater safe for everyone who wants to see a movie there.”
Before the shooting on Dec. 25, a large crowd of mostly teenagers and some children as young as 8 years old assembled in the theater’s parking lot, according to police.
The shooting occurred after a confrontation between two teenage boys and resulted in injuries to three teenagers and an 18-year-old man. None of the injuries were life threatening, and Barber said all were hit by what he described as “indiscriminate gunfire.”
During a meeting of the council’s public safety committee last week, councilors suggested revoking the business licenses of any theater, or other establishment, where teens congregate if they don’t put proper security measures in place.
Barber said Carmike seems to be willing to do that, as the department has suggested they join the Project Shield surveillance program and possibly notify authorities on what the theater projects will be a busy weekend. Last week Barber said the popularity of Star Wars: The Force Awakens could have been a contributing factor in the number of young people at the theater.
Another issue involved in the theater parking lot shooting, Barber said, was the number of children and teens outside the theater that been dropped off without a ride home.
Barber told councilors of a new trend in Mobile and other cities involving the possession of firearms by children and teens. Since the beginning of the year, Barber said, the department has investigated two accidental shooting attributed to children playing with guns.
He urged parents to check backpacks and log onto their child’s social media pages to try and monitor them.
In addition to programs aimed at school-aged children in Mobile County, MPD is also urging residents to report children with guns and has a program set up that allows them to do so anonymously.
Councilwoman Bess Rich, chairwoman of the public safety committee, hinted again that the council would have more meetings on the subject.
In other business, Mayor Sandy Stimpson announced about 14,000 skaters had participated in Riverside Ice, which closed this weekend. He told councilors the city had been shooting for 13,000 participants and believes the city will at least break even if not “make a little money” from the temporary winter attraction.
City spokesman George Talbot said there are plans to bring the ice rink back to Cooper Riverside Park next year, pending a contract and council approval.
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