Local leaders look to ensure safety after movie theater fight

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Updated: 12/27/2013 5:19 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- People were lined up at the box office, many them unfazed over what happened there some 24 hours earlier.

"It's easier to control something that gets out of control if you're aware of it happening,"said moviegoer Kristin Rodgers.

Out of control is what it looked like on Christmas night when an estimated 600 young people created a massive disturbance. Safety is paramount at the movie theater at River City and that's the message local leaders are sending.

"It was my intentions to come here here, be in this theater and let people know this is a safe place. Always have been an always will be," said the Rev. Reginald Gundy with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Gundy calls the mayhem on Christmas night foolishness, saying those involved need to be held accountable. He also tells Action News he commends the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office for getting the large crowd under control.

"That was dangerous. It could have gotten out of hand, somebody hand. Somebody could have gotten killed so whatever officers were here and the officers that responded, setting up those safe zones, that was the proper thing to do," said Gundy.

Action News requested previous reports from JSO and found that officers responded to two other movie theater fights at the Hollywood Theater on Christmas Day, one in 2008 and another in 2011. Still moviegoers believe some good may come out of this.

"It's kinda like that old saying if you go to the restaurant after it's had a bad health score, that's as clean as its going to get. I think it's probably going to be safer now than it ever was," said moviegoer Willie "Peejay" Alexander.

Others say three fights in five years is enough for them to wasn't want to see more security at the theaters on ghat holiday in particular.
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