By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
SOUTHGATE – Fireworks in a nearby neighborhood were mistaken for gunfire at 8:32 p.m. Sept. 3 at MJR Southgate Digital Cinema, 15651 Trenton Road, prompting a police response following a 911 call.
Southgate Public Safety Director Joseph Marsh said an unidentified caller told police dispatch that they believed shots had been fired.
Marsh said a second call to dispatch later indicated that the noise was merely fireworks, but officers still responded.
He said when police officers arrived at the theater, patrons and employees were acting as if nothing had occurred, with ticket and concession sales, as well as movie screening continuing uninterrupted.
“There was no commotion, no chaos,” Marsh said. “We talked to the manager inside the movie theater, told him what we were dispatched there for, and he quickly told our officers that there was nothing going on here, but there were some fireworks being fired off outside of the complex in the residential neighborhood behind it.”
The manager told the responding police officers that the fireworks in the neighborhood southeast of the location were loud enough that they could be heard from inside the movie theater.
Marsh said there were no guests present who had seen an actual gun, and the responding officers were able to hear fireworks noise themselves from the building interior.
He said the police officers checked out the building and did not find anyone with a weapon.
Marsh said the SWAT team was not activated, but Lincoln Park police officers were on their way to provide backup when the call for help was cancelled.
The theater was busy with patrons, given a special $3 ticket promotion offered Sept. 3 of Labor Day weekend to encourage people to return to live movie theater attendance as the COVID-19 pandemic wanes.
Marsh said police officers attempted to find the source of the fireworks in the nearby residential neighborhood, but were unable to find anyone launching fireworks.
“They couldn’t find the direct source of the fireworks,” Marsh said. “We are thankful there was not a real event.”