KENT, Wash. (KOMO) — Police are investigating after a 19-year-old was fatally shot inside a movie theater in Washington state early Tuesday morning.
The shooting happened inside AMC Kent Station 14 while people were watching the new Transformers movie "Transformers: Rise of the Beasts." Officers responded to the theater around 12:20 a.m. Tuesday after multiple people called 911.
The Kent Police Department said officers were waved to the south entrance of the theater where they found the 19-year-old man with an “obvious wound to his chest area” just inside the doors. The department said one of the victim’s friends was giving the man CPR when officers arrived.
Officers continued giving the 19-year-old first aid and carried him out of the theater to where medics had arrived. The department said the 19-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene.
The theater will remain closed on Tuesday, an AMC spokesperson said, adding it is "longstanding AMC policy that weapons of any kind, including firearms, are not permitted at AMC."
Our deepest sympathies are with the family of the victim," a movie theater spokesperson said in a statement. "The safety and security of our guests and associates is AMC’s top priority, and comprehensive security measures are in place at all AMC locations. We are cooperating fully with the investigation, and questions should be directed to local authorities."
A friend of the victim who had blood on his sweatshirt told KOMO outside of the theater that his friend had been shot and died in his arms. Kevin, the victim’s friend, said they ran out of the theater after hearing a loud pop. He then saw his friend collapse in front of him.
I seen my brother fall, so I picked him up, carried him,” Kevin, 19, said. “That’s all I can say, I tried to save his life.”
Kevin said they walked into the theater shortly before the shooting happened. He said he and the victim had been friends since the sixth grade.
“I’m just in shock right now,” Kevin told KOMO, adding that his friend just celebrated a birthday last month.
Six movies were either running or letting out at the time of the shooting. Officers from neighboring departments were requested to help with crowd control while KPD officers searched for the suspect and provided cover for those evacuating the theater.
No suspect has been taken into custody.
The department said in an update Tuesday morning the suspect was described as a “dark skinned male about 5’11” wearing a ski mask.” A KPD detective at the scene told KOMO the shooting appeared to be targeted and not a random incident.
Kent police do not believe there is a threat to the public, but they are adding additional patrols around Kent Station and working with property management to increase security measures.
"It’s unusual for there to be acts of violence at this movie theater, we’ve not had a shooting like this before at this location inside the theater, so this is something that’s highly unusual," KPD Chief Rafael Padilla said.
Three vehicles that may have been involved in the incident were towed from the AMC parking lot and impounded.
“This was a chaotic incident for both patrons and responding Officers. I want to commend the Officers for their quick response in providing immediate aid to the victim, while simultaneously evacuating the theater,” Chief Padilla said in a Facebook post Tuesday morning. “We have solid leads in this investigation, and I am hopeful that we will identify and apprehend the suspect soon.”