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Epic Theaters Evacuated After Gun Fears; Sheriff Warns: “This Is Not Going To Continue”

| January 14, 2017

epic theaters palm coast crime

Epic Theaters in Palm Coast’s Town Center has been the scene of several incidents in the past few weeks, and on Friday evening was evacuated after a fight that may have involved a gun. (© FlaglerLive)

In the wake of the latest in a series of incidents at Palm Coast’s Epic Theaters in Town Center Friday night, Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly has a message for theater management: get your security under control, or else.

“I’ll be making a phone call to the manager for a sit down with me because this is not going to continue,” Staly said today. “This is not about money. This is about making sure that it’s a safe environment for the guests.” He added: “I want to get in front of this and work with Epic before something happens, because something will happen if we don’t get in front of it.”

Epic Theater was again cause for a swarm of law enforcement response Friday, this time bringing in cops from Flagler Beach, Bunnell, a half half dozen units of the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, and the sheriff himself, who was out on one of his Friday night patrols.

The response was triggered by a brawl in one of the theaters and fears of a gun being brandished, which caused something close to a stampede out of the theater. Later rumors flew that there were more than one gun and that knives too were involved.

In fact, no gun was found, nor were knives. There was a fight inside the theater. No one was injured. There were no arrests. But the theater was bedlam with popcorn and other concessions all over the grounds and the seats, and the required police response drew law enforcement away from other segments of the county for a good part of the evening.

“It was a good-size disturbance,” Staly said, with fear ramped up over rumors of a gun because of today’s anxious climate in the wake of the Aurora, Colorado movie-house shooting in 2012 that killed 12 people and injured 70. “We didn’t notice any indication of gunpowder or anything like that,” Staly continued, “other than rumor mill amongst the crowd that someone had a weapon. The manager asked us to clear out the theater, which we did, there were also adults who’d taken their kids there and they were not happy, because they basically closed that theater, with no refunds.”

The theater was cleared of between 300 to 400 people, though Staly said other screening rooms were not affected.

The disturbance took place in theater #8, where “The Bye Bye Man” was showing.

“We proceeded to enter the theater,” deputy Daniel LaVerne reported, “found that people (majority juveniles) were out of their seats and running out of the emergency exit as well as the main exit. No disturbance was observed in the theater; however, many people in the theater appeared to be nervous or in a panic. I then proceeded to speak with multiple adults in the theater who advised that there was a disturbance up in the front of the theater between numerous juvenile males, but that they did not observe a firearm nor did they hear one discharged. One adult stated that he observed a juvenile male walk from the area of the front row to the emergency exit. The juvenile then opened and then slammed shut the emergency exit door. The male stated that the juveniles up front then yelled, ‘Gun! Gun!’ which caused the mass disturbance/panic. It should be noted that no Deputy within the theater located any firearms, shell casings or knives nor did they detect the odor of gun powder which would be indicative of a firearm recently being discharged. No damage related to a bullet was observed in the immediate area of the disturbance and no injuries were reported.”

LaVerne continued: “We then assisted with escorting the remainder of the customers from the theater and followed the last customers out of the theater and into the main lobby. Once into the main lobby, Epic management advised that they did not wish for any customers from theater #8 to remain on the property and asked for assistance with escorting them off of the property. With the assistance of the Flagler Beach Police Department and the Bunnell Police Department, we continued to assist with crowd control and eventually escorted approximately four hundred people out of the theater and off of the Epic Theaters controlled property.”

The sheriff credited the majority of patrons, including juveniles, for their cooperative attitude, saying whatever the trouble was returned to a small group of people, as it usually does.

It’s not clear why Epic management opted to evacuate the theater and not give refunds. Epic officials did not respond to emails sent to their corporate office, nor did Michael Toth, the supervisor on duty Friday evening, return a call to his cell phone.

“Any further details or information regarding the cause of the disturbance and the displaying of or discharging of a firearm are unknown,” LaVerne concluded in an incident report.

Staly after the incident called Undersheriff Jack Bisland and told him he wanted to know the number of calls that have required a police response to Epic and McDonald’s nearby in the past year. McDonald’s is included because incidents have often spilled over from Epic to the restaurant–as Friday’s incident did as well: Staly and his deputies found themselves at McDonald’s not long after the Epic scene, with another disturbance on their hands that ended with the arrest of an adult for cocaine possession.

“They need to come up with a solution, whether it’s security guards or off duty-deputies,” Staly said of Epic. “I’m not going to allow it to continue without putting the theater on notice that they have a problem and they need to work with us for a solution.” Staly, who spoke by phone from Orlando, where he was attending the funerals of two law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty this week, says he can remember issues at Epic going back four years to when he was undersheriff.

“If they don’t address the matter, the only thing that we in law enforcement can do is work with the city for nuisance abatement and code enforcement violations, and do strict enforcement of violations,” Staly said. But the theater would be hurting itself if it doesn’t address the situation assertively. “A couple of parents told me that they will never come back here, so eventually it’s going to hurt their business. So they need to work with us to solve this problem, because I know it’s been a problem for four years.”

Epic’s policy allows weapons in its theaters as long as the carrier has a concealed-carry permit (and may subject patrons to bag searches). “But obviously if a juvenile has a weapon, that’s illegal to begin with,” Staly said. He noted that was the case with Friday’s police response, even incidents that prove less serious than feared cause potential problems across the county. “It potentially endangers the entire community when I have a third of my patrol people tied up at one location, and it backs up calls. So our emergency calls to other locations get delayed. It’s a domino effect.”

His priority is to analyze both issues at Epic and McDonald’s and get both businesses to address the problem, in partnership with law enforcement. “I’m not willing to sit back and wait for something serious to happen,” Staly said.

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79 Responses for “Epic Theaters Evacuated After Gun Fears; Sheriff Warns: “This Is Not Going To Continue””

  1. Flagler Citizen says:

    Part of the issue, I think deserves some consideration with city and correction, is that the city of Palm Coast is becoming very populated, and the youth have very little to do. Where do they go? Town Center–McDonalds and Epic Theaters. That’s pretty much it.

    When I was a teen in the 90’s, we had a survey given to us in school about youth activities. It’s interesting to me that the people in positions of planning and governance must have seen the need for youth activity back then. I was a little excited to think that maybe more for teens would come. There’s certainly more for them to do now, but obviously, they are flooding the theaters and fast food chains. It seems like some careful consideration about youth activities might be of concern to law enforcement. I also remember that when I was a young adult, there was talk about the new library, and I overheard an older man saying, “Why should we pay for a library for these kids. I don’t have kids, and they don’t even read books anyway.” So I wonder if that’s still a problem.

    I guess it can be tricky.

  2. Angeline says:

    As a teen myself, we have nothing to do here. Everyone knows everyone in our age group. There’s no where for us to go, and as the teen population grows faster and faster. We need more things to do here. I was at the movies last night,the teens pull pranks like this cause it’s the most fun they can do here in this small town. They create secret hide away places in the woods and behind buildings to have their own fun, in which could be dangerous. I’m just saying, as a teen myself we need to have more things for us to do! Instead of investing in so much restaurants in the town, we should invest in activities for teens. The rate is only going to grow more and more!

  3. Dave says:

    What a bunch of scared people, wow, I can honestly say that until they get rid of their gun rules and completely ban weapons from the theatre ,it will remain unsafe. NO ONE should be allowed to carry weapons in a theatre. Not even with a concealed carry.

  4. D L says:

    How is this Epic’s fault? How can they be responsible for the behavior of the people that buy their tickets? This is a “what happened to our society” problem!

  5. Dawn says:

    Teenagers being bored and Palm Coast needs to have more activities for teenagers is getting old. I don’t care how bored teenagers are, if raised right they find fun things to do without getting into trouble and being disrespectful. My kids grew up in this area and they were bored many times. they never got in trouble. Parents need to step up their role and teach the kids how to behave.

  6. Carol Ogden says:

    What? Guns are allowed in Epic Theaters? That scares the heck out of me. They need to change that crazy policy. For gosh sakes, there are kids, families and seniors going to the movies. Leave the gun in your pickup!

  7. Concerned Citizen says:

    @ Epic Theaters. You need to have better security. At least on weekends when you have a heavier teen presence. And perhaps a stricter tolerance of shenanigans.Lastly I understand by first hand account paying adults were not allowed back in to finish a movie nor were they refunded their ticket. Not a good way to treat innocent customers caught up in the mayhem.

    @ Angeline it is not the City of Palm Coast, Flagler County or society’s responsibility to find you something to do. What a sense of entitlement you have!!

    Why not find something creative and productive to do instead of hiding in the woods and pulling stupid pranks that cost money and potentially endanger people? Why should our tax dollars find your entertainment?

    In general while it’s hard to find fault with one person the SO should ID the person who yelled gun and treat it the same as if you yelled fire and caused a stampede that might have injured folks. Arrest the individual and pursue charges and a conviction.

    Start sending a message to this new crop of teens that think it’s OK to harass people because they are bored and have nothing to do..

  8. Anonymous says:

    Yes Dave, just tell criminals not to bring guns into the theater and they won’t. Sorry the only answer to a bad guy wit ya gun is a good guy with a gun!!! s seen in Arizona this past week when a deputies life was saved! Sorry but you are wrong on this one!

  9. JasonB says:

    Welcome to Trump’s America.

  10. I/M/O says:

    I/M/O this article has just destroyed he Epic Theater customer base.

    After reading it who would go there. Certainly not me. I will warn my family members to avoid this theater.

    I saw this in New York. The gangs would take over a Theater and the general public stopped patronizing those theaters.

  11. truthsayer says:

    Why does bored teens and a gun scare make it o.k.I carry every time I go to epic theater.Remeber the Coiorado shootings?The last thing we need is another soft zone.

  12. cathy ploughman says:

    Since they allow weapons (guns) of any kind I will boycott….businessmen LISTEN.

  13. Ken Dodge says:

    Are our teens and their parents overlooking the activities for youth that are held in our churches? Movie nights and events sponsored by Fellowship of Christian Athletes occur on Friday evenings and weekends. There has been an increase in churches over the past twenty or so years since I have resided here.

  14. Sw says:

    Good point

  15. Gkimp says:

    If I get burgalized, will the Sheriff demand I purchase an alarm or have my house declared a nuisance? Which I know I,can be a nuisance.

  16. Sw says:

    I think they are playing you all for kicks, just sayin

  17. Tom hodgin says:

    If any juvenile is arrested for pubic disturbance. ..his parents pay the fines…..that will surely help calm these folks down….

  18. Born and Raised Here says:

    Bored teens. I don’t buy that. Just about every Church in this town, including mine have a Friday Night Teen Night. Perhaps these parents and there kids get involve in a local Church..

  19. Instigator says:

    If you do not allow me to protect myself, I will not attend. It is obvious one needs to be aware of one’s surroundings and be prepared to defend one’s family when attending the theater.
    .

  20. can't fool me says:

    @ Angeline……I find it so terribly SAD that kids cannot entertain themselves and feel that the community is responsible for keeping them occupied and happy. They’re missing the opportunity to become passionate about a hobby or to develop an interest in something that they can set goals for themselves and enjoy doing alone. This idea that they have to misbehave in order to have fun, settle an argument, or relieve boredom is evidence of their immaturity and lack of self-confidence. Unless they’re happy in their own skins, tapping into their own inner creativeness to create their own happiness, they will always just be one of the crowd and part of any problem that crowd causes.

  21. Wtf says:

    I’m not sure how many of you making the comments have been to the theater lately. There is a group of young kids that are loud, on their phones, all over during the movie, harassing people. It’s a small percentage but who is going to stand up to them. It’s not my responsibility to throw them out for their behavior, although I have come close on multiple occasions. I’m a mother of 2 teenage boys who would never act like this in a theater and nor would most of the teens I deal with daily. This is not about guns in the theater, it about a-holes yelling “gun” because they are jerks and they thought it was funny. They created chaos and they got away with it and have had no consequences. The theater needs to work with law enforcement to trespass this group of kids that are causing the trouble. It’s not every teen in there that acts like a fool. If there were enforced rules, consequences and they were thrown out and not allowed back in, things would improve.

  22. Palm Coast Resident says:

    I am 52 years old and every time my wife and I go to Epic Theaters in Palm Coast there is some sort of disturbance with high school kids. A couple of weeks ago we went to see “Passengers” and had high school kids sitting behind us throw an entire box of popcorn on us. This was unprovoked. We didn’t know anyone was sitting behind us until it happened.

    This has nothing to do with boredom. This is disrespect as a result of poor parenting. I have raised two respectful kids who would never think to do anything like what we are seeing.

    Epic theaters is negligent also. They have no security and they don’t address problems.

  23. Local business owner says:

    This article is very interesting and quite frankly scares me. I own a local business. If there are issues at my business and the police are called several times am i suddenly required by the sheriff to hire his deputies to keep my customers safe? What about the massive tax revenue I bring to this community? The employees that work for me? The risk of owning a business in the county is stress enough without a Sheriff making demands. What about places like Smiles, Walmart, Target, and even Publix. Some of them pay for security and they still have fights, thefts, robberies, and so on. It is the Sheriffs responsibility to SERVE AND PROTECT and not make unfair demands on struggling business owners. Remember that Europa in the European Village paid off duty deputies thousands of dollars and there were still fights, stabbings, shootings, and more at Europa. That place went out of business.

  24. Molly Jean says:

    Then don’t. If you feel like you need to be armed to go to a damned movie, then stay home.

  25. anonymus says:

    @JasonB: This has nothing to do with “Trump’s America”, he isn’t even in office yet. A lot of this has to do with Obama’s so called “accomplishments”. This has nothing to do with politics, it has to do with kids who are too lazy to find something productive to do. My husband & I moved down here from NY with our 3 children & when we moved down here, there was far more less for the kids to do. My children enjoyed outdoor sports that I got them involved in to keep them busy & out of trouble. The city tried opening a teen club & a teen community center, but the kids ruined that by starting fights, defacing property & bringing weapons with them to these places. A lot of teens these days are just down right LAZY & technology is to blame for that. You’re bored, you get a job!! My kids have been working since they turned 16!! It isn’t our job to entertain you, entertain yourself & do something productive.

  26. PC Resident says:

    Bored?? Are kidding me? There are plenty of ways to find something to do that doesn’t involve criminal activity. Go read a book, play softball, go the to the beach, go for a hike, go for a bike ride. Do something besides being little thugs. Seriously – we should have to worry about teens with guns because they are BORED????
    What incentive do these kids give any business geared towards their age group to open here? From comments above they only have fast food places and the movies and they are causing disturbances and bringing weapons and drugs into both. Yeah – lets give them more places to terrorize people.

  27. Heather says:

    I see comments from teens saying it’s because there is nothing to do here, I agree there isn’t much for kids to do but also consider this.. why would the community fund more entertainment when teens obviously don’t know how to behave nor appreciate what they already have? The theater was built to entertain and yet incidents seem to continue. The problem isn’t with being bored and having nothing to do, the problem is there is no consequence to these young people for their actions. If the Sheriff is pointing the finger solely at the theater then he seriously needs to rethink his position. Yes the theater could take security measures but what are we going to do? Have every business that teens frequent hire security? What about the cost of the security? Who is footing that bill? Sure the business will and then prices will increase therefore they may lose patrons and eventually close. Maybe our Sheriff needs to consider actually holding these teens accountable rather than encouraging their self entitled behavior/attitudes.

  28. W.Ryan says:

    To Palm Coast, (1) Do something for your youth. If we could build a 10 million dollar City hall and renovate an old community center for a whopping 7 mill, we have the money. This city is not a retirement community anymore. (2) Get some youth reps to speak for the youth at the PC council. (3) Guns are deadly. Outlaw guns outside of home protection and hunting. (4)Stop fear mongering and work on the first three.

  29. Ben Hogarth says:

    Through around 2007, development in Flagler County was both unprecedented and unmatched in the State of Florida. Ten years later, Flagler is stifled while St. John’s County has taken the lead in Florida among most prosperous and fast-growing counties. So what changed?

    Well, I find it highly ironic that current management has been around for about a decade.. the same amount of time that the County has gone downhill economically. Sure, homes are still cheap comparatively, but the quality of life and life opportunity are also among the lowest in the region.

    Kids need activities to stay out of trouble – yes. But more importantly, they need real jobs to be available and close by. Instead, you have a county administration that has focused its efforts on parks and recreation for ten years. So what you have is miles and miles of sidewalks, trails, and acres upon acres of parks. Unfortunately what you don’t have is vibrant commerce and economic vitality that screams “come here and join us.”

    It’s ok because the older generation prefers their peace and quiet little town… Even if the world around them is falling apart all that matters is their quiet little hideaway from reality.

    Never fear to change and adapt ladies and gentlemen. Life is full of challenges and hiding has never solved any of them

  30. John Dough says:

    Just to be clear on gun laws for everybody, anybody with a conceal carry license can bring a firearm with them anywhere they go whether the business or place of interest has a ban on firearms or not. The only time there can be an actual ban on firearms is in a government structure, if a busnines put a ban on legally conceal carrying of a firearm in their structure that is unlawful and does not have to be obeyed. Hopefully epic hires some sort of security to take care of this because the teen crowds are getting worse and worse every year.

  31. r&r says:

    Trump is being blamed already for Obama’s support of these types of things.

  32. Brian says:

    Hey JasonB – hot tip – Trump is not president yet. This is OBAMA’S America, and things will change when the weak, dismal failure goes down the road in one week. Good riddance!

  33. Bill says:

    Perhaps management should require that teens be accompanied by adults at a particular ratio. Those who complain about not enough things to do – these actions will advance that circumstance, as businesses will suffer and either contract or not locate in problem areas.

  34. Mark101 says:

    I also don’t buy the bored teens claim. You can drive on down to Orlando and there are a lot of places for teens, and there are still fights, shootings and drugs. , It all comes back to the parents who have failed to lead by example. As far as Epic, they need their own security and stop weapons of any kind going into their theater. The days of punks is upon us and that will never change, weapons will be around regardless of what happens to guns. Palm Coast has no guidance these days and its just not for the old crowd anymore. There are teens running rampant causing crime and our justice system is just to lenient to teach them a lesson. So suck up Palm Coast and Flagler County , you caused this now try to get it under control.

  35. Anonymous says:

    I was there so many kids from my school as they cup showed up a group of middle-high schoolers ran out after a while they showed the 10:25 for 8:22

  36. Parent of teens says:

    The problem is parents who just drop their kids off at the theater on Friday and Saturday nights. These kids are not supervised and act like fools. What do you expect? That is not Epic’s fault.

  37. Dave says:

    Last thing anyone needs is a “hero” citizen with a gun.

  38. footballen says:

    I will be there this friday and I will be packing my heat as always, let a thug try me.

  39. Anonymous 2 says:

    If you allow people in with a gun or weapon, I will not attend. Some people are “responsible”, others are not…. I do not want to live in the “Wild, Wild, West” ☹️

  40. Dr says:

    Definitely bored teenagers in palm coast, I have been to the theater many times on Friday and Saturday nights, and if you don’t pick an “R” rated movie then chances are pretty high that you will not have a good experience due to the high number of teens who have nothing better to do than be disruptive.

  41. Geri K says:

    How expensive would it be to build a skate park for teens in Town Center, surrounded by enough space for kids to hang out? Cheaper than security problems, certainly. We need to recognize that as our community grows up, it’s not like The Villages. We aren’t a community restricted to senior residents – the service people that take care of us in the stores and restaurants and medical offices live here and have kids, and we need places for those kids to go. We are a rich community (not Palm Beach rich, but plenty rich anyway), and we should take care of our citizens, young and old. Our quality of life depends on it.

  42. lron says:

    So bored teens that have nothing to do should be entertained so they stay out of trouble. This is the problem, these over entitled kids need to suffer consequences and pay fines. Most kids that are bored do not get into trouble. Boredom is just a weak parents scapegoat.

  43. Nick says:

    To Jason B who said Welcome to Trumps America. What in the world does Donald Trump have to do with teenagers behaving badly on a Fri night ? Are you implying all teenagers behaved perfectly through the 8 yrs Obama was President ? Educate yourself.

  44. Sherry says:

    Just as shouting “FIRE” (when there isn’t one) in a movie theater is illegal and NOT protected by the 1st amendment, allowing guns, guns, and more guns in a movie theater should be illegal!
    Escalating the sheer number of guns in the general populace is CONTRIBUTING to violence, injuries and death in our society. . . NOT reducing it!

    But why bother with facts, statistics, logic or reasonable thinking. . . as long as the gun manufactures are raking in their massive profits!

    In all fairness to the kids in our community. . . even though we don’t personally have children. . . the community recreation plan should include their needs. Think this through. . . when we were kids, we had strong youth support structures beyond religious groups. . . like the YMCA, boy and girl scouts, community sports teams, MANY activities sponsored by libraries. The high schools had many after school activities and the gym and sports fields were open and available until 7 and 8 PM.

    In my neighborhood there was even a “privately owned/for profit” teen club (certainly with NO guns or alcohol/drugs allowed), that had dances with live bands on Friday and Saturday nights. Those kinds of venues and activities are more and more rare. It’s now ALL about “cost cutting” and “maximizing profits” instead of creating a healthy community!

  45. Mik says:

    I was there that night in theater 8 with 7 of my friends. I’m in the 8th grade and half my school was there. We were horrified and we still are a bit shaken up.

  46. Concerned resident says:

    Since Epic began serving beer a while ago, how are people still allowed to bring guns inside?

  47. Truth says:

    What a joke! How is this Epic’s fault. Are we going to have TSA, metal detectors, and invasive patdowns at the movies now. Ticket prices will become $85 per person to cover the cost. Good news for red box. So sad how people blame everyone but those at fault. And most reading this think the police are right to tell epic to step up, and point at legal law abiding people with gun permits. But they want prosecute the ones doing wrong. Semply let them go and act surprised when the do something even worse. And forget about giving the parents and family any of the blame. Businesses should do what they can but if the law want follow through, And the people come back to do it agean. Then the business should sue the police. Don’t tell people to do something you can’t or wont. What a crap hole we live in now.

  48. Sherry says:

    Just as shouting “FIRE” (when there isn’t one) in a movie theater is illegal and NOT protected by the 1st amendment, allowing guns, guns, and more guns in a movie theater should be illegal!
    Escalating the sheer number of guns in the general populace is CONTRIBUTING to violence, injuries and death in our society. . . NOT reducing it!
    But why bother with facts, statistics, logic or reasonable thinking. . . as long as the gun manufactures are raking in their massive profits!
    In all fairness to the kids in our community. . . even though we don’t personally have children. . . the community recreation plan should include their needs. Think this through. . . when we were kids, we had strong youth support structures beyond religious groups. . . like the YMCA, boy and girl scouts, community sports teams, MANY activities sponsored by libraries. The high schools had many after school activities and the gym and sports fields were open and available until 7 and 8 PM.
    In my neighborhood there was even a “privately owned/for profit” teen club (certainly with NO guns or alcohol/drugs allowed), that had dances with live bands on Friday and Saturday nights. Those kinds of venues and activities are more and more rare. It’s now ALL about “cost cutting” and “maximizing profits” instead of creating a healthy community!

  49. PC Resident says:

    Bored?? Are kidding me? There are plenty of ways to find something to do that don’t involve criminal activity. Go read a book, play softball, go the to the beach, go for a hike, go for a bike ride. Do something besides being little thugs. Seriously – we should have to worry about teens with guns because they are BORED????

    What incentive do these kids give any business geared towards their age group to open here? From comments above they only have fast food places and the movies and they are causing disturbances and bringing weapons and drugs into both. Yeah – lets give them more places to terrorize people.

  50. BILL HARVEY says:

    I don’t go there anymore because it is a dirty disgusting place to watch a movie. the seats are torn and dirty. all u can see are lights from cell phones and hear sounds from texting. 13 years here and now I am looking again, I never thought I would, this is not “PARADISE”

  51. gmath55 says:

    If you want gun control so bad; why don’t you just move to the south side of Chicago?

  52. pallida says:

    I understand that it’s legal for juveniles to have guns in the theater, or is it. Law hasn’t stopped criminal acts in over 200 years. It just declares what is and the punishment. Prove it otherwise ….

  53. Truth says:

    I also can’t grasp the whole idea of how the actions of a few represent the majority. The majority of the kids in Palm Coast a great kids and can have bright futures. Yet we have shown that one small group does wrong and everyone looses. Because we can’t discriminate, profile, or single out in today’s world. But FYI to those who think people shouldn’t carry guns legally in public. The KIDS who are causing the issue here are not legally possessing weapons. So your guns are but cry is a joke in and of itself.

  54. Knightwatch says:

    O.k., no Epic for me until they ban guns. Period.

  55. Dennis says:

    People there r over 1.4 million conceal carry permits in FL relax its not like the wild west. I’ve carried for over 20yrs and in all cases no one every know that I was armed. I have carried in this Theater many time and no one very knew. These young people need to find someway to keep themselves occupied. Go hiking, get involved in organize sports. Need to get parents more involve in what there kids r doing. As for people carrying concealed get over it.

  56. Mom says:

    This was the first time I let my son go to movies with friends. I got a strange text from him. I was there in minutes. There were swarms of teens. I only saw one other parent there. I asked for a refund and I got it. I asked an officer to explain. He told me kids were yelling and talking loudly as the movie played. It was a very creepy movie. My son did not hear a gun shot. But every one was running out. They went back to watch again then the lights were turned on as the police cleared the room. It was very frightening for him. It took a while for him to calm down. I will not leave him at the movies again. I will just stay. I am not afraid to be involved with teens.We need more for them to do in this town. I am still amazed how many teens were there with no parents after all this happened.

  57. Concerned says:

    So wrong for the sheriff to blame Epic Theatre…..we are so lucky to have a nice movie to go to. The problem with this are the kids. When the theatre first opened there was a great manager there. When the kids started to get out of control, he stopped the movie, had all the overhead lights turned on and told everyone anyone making any noise would be thrown out…..they then left an employee in the movie. End of problem.

    I will remain loyal to Epic Theatres and continue to go as others should too.

  58. Informed says:

    Epic should follow what other theatres have been doing for a long time….hire a deputy for a detail on Friday and Saturday nights while all these kids are out there.

  59. DaveT says:

    All this talk about cost cutting, and Welcome to Trump is total BS. These towns in Flagler County have grown up and they can’t keep up and have NO plan which is typical of Flager County. . These towns are no longer a heaven for the older crowd where they think its all about them, I’m sorry to tell ya, but the young people are here and they have nothing to do and bingo juvenile crime is on the rise. But its not the good kids causing the trouble its the kids with no parental guidance in my opinion, free to roam like the punks they are. Its time for the new sheriff to start locking up these punks and set an example, but of course the courts will slap their hands and send them home to mommy. And it keeps going on, over and over.

  60. Grow up in PC says:

    Having nothing to do doesn’t mean you go out and act like animals. They were doing something,”watching a movie”.

  61. The Ghost of America says:

    Guns in movie theaters are important, you never know when you’ll need to stand your ground against someone armed with a bag of popcorn.

  62. #Bernie2020 says:

    This has been happening for the past 65 years.

    I think the Tomahawk greaser gangs with packs of Marlboro rolled in the shirt sleeve fought over their Debs when A Streetcar Named Desire was playing in theaters in 1951.

    I am sure someone was stabbed or beat up and had to go to the hospital and they said the world was coming to an end and blamed Truman.

    This has nothing to do with Church, not having anything to do or guns. Once and a while kids are morons. We all did it. If you don’t want to deal with older kids, do what I do, go to the early shows or just wait for it to be out on DVD or Netflix. The popcorn is cheaper and hell you don’t even need to wear pants!

    Epic just needs to have security or cameras on the crowd to make sure no one gets out of line. Seeing an armed guard will cut down on craziness.

  63. Brian says:

    That’s right, Ghost of America – just ask the loved ones of the Aurora Colorado theater victims.

  64. Flagler Citizen says:

    My kid was there, and she said that on this particular day, the show was so packed that there were people sitting on the floor. “How is this Epic Theater’s fault?” some of you ask? Well, I’m hard pressed to find it acceptable to pack a theater beyond seating capacity.

    She said it was super loud and unbearably packed. Her and her friends noted a lot of middle school kids taking flash photos and being extremely loud, and her friends considered getting up to get a refund at that point.

    As to “Go to church if you want something to do,” well, that’s an easy suggestion if you have grown up with or solidified a faith and are comfortable with that faith. Church activities are awesome, but they are very uncomfortable for people who do not belong to that same faith or who have never grown up with a church culture. Selling kids who don’t go to church and who want to watch a movie on cookies and milk at the Kids for Christ event on the third Saturday of every other month or whatever is a tough sell, quite frankly, whether that’s something we like or not. And while we enjoy their activities on occasion, they are PLANNED activities, usually, not places kids can go straight to after school or where they can meander to when looking for something to do. It’s clear that when Epic theater is getting this loaded (though my kid said movies are often full but not nearly as packed as Bye Bye Man was), that kids need other productive ways to entertain them. They are young, curious, social people. And from what I understand, too, there were a lot of younger kids–middle-school aged kids there.

    We don’t have museums, arcades, full service skating rinks, family fun centers, jumping centers (bouncy house places for kids, teens, and adventurous adults), miniature golf courses, laser tag facilities, book stores with cafes, teen cafe’s with open mic poetry or music–these are the places kids can meander to without a schedule, unlike planned youth activities put on by churches and the community–which serve a great purpose, for sure, but they certainly do not fill the entire gap.

  65. Anonymous says:

    I find it odd that our political left fear a legally armed citizen. When in fact it is the Illegally armed criminal that is the overwhelming cause of gun crimes.

  66. Blessed says:

    I always find it AMAZING how truth never spreads, but RUMORS and gossip does. I was a NYC resident for 42 years before moving down here. Palm Coast is safe, clean, beautiful. and a GREAT place to live. Do we have problems? Of course we do – PEOPLE bring them in. Epic Movie Theater is a business, and they have some responsibility, but they are NOT to be a replacement for what is REALLY lacking.

    PARENTAL SUPERVISION. All Epic has to do is ENFORCE a policy of now unaccompanied teens after a certain time in the day, say 5pm, and I guarantee, you will see the issues drop. People are using the theater as a substitute babysitter. Parents don’t want to be bothered and they let their kids roam around unchaperoned.

    We do need more things for kids to do, and it would be NICE to have some sort of public transportation to get the kids around. There are TONS of programs at many churches, but the usual complaint is the kids cannot get there. Transportation is an issue. Cause they can walk to the theater, but not to church. Or their parents find it convenient to drop them off at the theater.

    As to guns, I am a gun owner with a conceal carry. I will not go anywhere without it, because the guy who have illegal guns are NOT going to respect the law. And if I am going to face them, I want to do it on equal terms. This incident just goes to show we all need to carry, be trained in how to use them, and be a force of a community that will NOT be caught unarmed. If criminals knew that this community was armed and prepared, they would bypass us for less prepared communities.

    We need to stop having emotional responses to things like this and be calm, rational, and prepared.

  67. Dave says:

    Please No Concealed Carry in this theatre. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE. I will not feel safe bringing my family to this establishment until they remove this insane rule.

  68. lron says:

    @Sherry- The problem is not with activities for kids after school or before 8pm. The majority of the issues begins after dark. Students are not home by 8 on Friday and Saturday nights.

  69. Sherry says:

    @Iron. . . et al. . . teenagers want “social interaction” with others in their age group. My high school had a chaperoned dance that went until 10 or 11 PM once a month. . . no alcohol/drugs allowed. . . and certainly no guns! The “Tropical Teen Club” (a private enterprise). . . no alcohol/drugs/guns. . . I mentioned before, had dances on the weekends that went till midnight. Our parents and neighbors regularly had “home” parties for kids on weekend nights.

    Assuming that kids should just hold up in their rooms and entertain themselves is just asking for trouble. The needs of teenagers and young adults should be taken into consideration when making decisions about the future of our community. It takes a village!

    If you cynics think that’s idealistic. . . why shouldn’t we have ideals? Why shouldn’t we strive to care about one another with at least the same passion that some care about their almighty lethal weapons rights? Why don’t you see the tragic “dark side” of the way our society is heading?

  70. A.S.F. says:

    For sure, these kids need better role models. Or, at least, some that are more involved and engaged with them.

  71. Anonymous says:

    @Blessed — you are right — Epic in St. Augustine has a policy of no unsupervised teens on weekend nights. Its time to bring that here and that would solve alot of problems.
    Also as a mom who survived having two teenagers grow up in Palm Coast, my home was open to them and their friends. We created a hang-out in our garage and so I always knew where they were and knew they were safe. We supported their creativity and they each became involved in the arts. One in theatre and one in music. There is alot for kids to do if you connect them with something they are interested in. It does take effort on the parent’s part however. I was a single mom for part of their upbringing and was greatly affected by the economic collapse so not having any money is no excuse.
    I grew up here in the 70’s and literally the ONLY thing to do here when I was a teen was to hang out in Flagler Beach at the pool hall across from the pier. So I know personally, nothing good comes from kids hanging around being bored. Things are immensely better now. There are hundreds of activities for kids to get involved in now so that is not the problem.
    Transportation is a problem here and its a big enough county and enough residents that it may be a good idea for the county to consider a bus route along Belle Terre and Rt 100 and Palm Coast Parkway. It would help more than just kids as well.

  72. FlaglerBear says:

    When I was a teen, many moons ago, going to the movies was a privilege because we didn’t have a lot of money. Computers and video games did not exist, and cellphones? Cmon! We rode our bikes, READ BOOKS (wow-what a novel idea), or studied. I know I sound stupid, but…never did I place the responsibility for my entertainment on the city or others. That’s stupid. Grow up you little turds!

  73. Hmmm says:

    Once again, its the parents fault. I see all these kids trying to be gangstas. Acting like they are so hard. And alot of these parents promote it. These little kids are left to roam wild like they’re grown.

  74. A.S.F. says:

    If they found themselves in any major metropolis in the US, they would soon find out how NOT “gansta” they are.

  75. PC Resident says:

    @Flagler Citizen: I agree that the suggestions made in your last paragraph are great places for teens to be able to hang out. Now how do we convince potential business owners of venues geared towards teens to come open here? The few places that are geared towards teens are where the violence is happening. Why would a new business be treated any differently? I’m not trying to be nasty, I honestly want to know how we as a community could entice someone to invest in an industry geared towards middle and high school age children with our current track record.

  76. Anonymous says:

    I find it amazing all the ill never go there again if they let law abiding people in. Do those same say anything about people Driving on the streets who as just in the past few days KILLED two people in this town??? NOPE. It all about a political ideology NOT safety or following the Laws.

  77. Katie Semore says:

    What I find to be amazing is communities, towns, cities, and a country that many want to claim was founded on Judeo-Christian values that when it comes to acting with Judeo-Christian values are asked of them, they can’t find it in their hearts to do so and claim that it is everyone for themselves and those with less can just suck it up.

  78. Go red says:

    Moved here five years ago and soon after the elders of the community voted down like a half cent sales tax for school and youth programs .the school day was shortened and other programs never had a chance.yes you reap what you sow.and it’s not the responsibility of the sheriff to utilize his man power when the epic corporation drops the ball by maintaining a perpetual unruly premise

  79. Anonymous says:

    Brian. I happen to know a parent of one of Colorado movie theatre victims. You don’t speak for them so don’t pretend to. He was a service provider for me at an old job and we spoke often. He was also all over the major news networks speaking out against the shooter, mental health, etc after the incident. His son saved his girlfriend and is a hero.

    The real issue in this town is these kids are getting involved with real gangs and they have guns from all these petty robberies they’re doing. It’s not cheap talk. There are 13yo’s putting up pics and videos of themselves on Instagram with guns… black AND white. It’s a huge issue. If your kid talks about 3k, that’s a gang and they have guns. There’s others too in PC and Bunnell. Talk to your kids. It’s going to surprise you and WE need to get the word out on this.

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