A situation that could have gone south very fast was prevented thanks to the quick actions of Phoenix, AZ, police. Luckily, no one was harmed at Phoenix Comicon, but it did start a con-wide weapons ban that included toys and prop weapons. To find out the backstory behind the ban, keep reading. If you’d rather not hear the details, here are some fun fact about cats instead.
Matthew Sterling (whose picture we won’t be showing here, no need to give him more notoriety) attended Phoenix Comicon with intentions of killing Jason David Frank. Jason is known as the Green Power Ranger, Tommy Oliver, on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. According to The Arizona Republic, Sterling showed up to Phoenix Comicon with his face painted black and wore “all black clothes, a red bandanna and a strap across his chest containing shotgun ammunition”. He arrived at the event with “two 45-caliber handguns, a .454-caliber handgun, and a 12-gauge shotgun, all fully loaded; a combat knife; pepper spray; and throwing stars”. Sterling later claimed to be The Punisher.
After bypassing Weapons Check at the con, he began messaging a woman where he stated that he wanted to shoot as many cops as possible and then began taking pictures of them. Luckily, the woman took the threats seriously and contacted the police, who were able to locate Sterling in a matter of minutes. Matthew Sterling is currently in jail with bond set at $1 million. His court date is set for June 2nd.
And now we come to the current state of events. Phoenix Comicon scrambled to change up the rules regarding safety. For the remainder of the con, no weapons were allowed, even toy and prop weapons. While this was a bummer for a lot of cosplayers, some con attendees made light of the situation.
Jason David Frank learned of his own attempted shooting and took to Facebook Live to have a few words about the incident:
“The reason why I’m a little stressed out today is because I had to do a press conference right now. There’s a lot of stuff going on, a lot of drama in the past few days. I don’t let things affect me. I don’t let it affect my fans, as well. This is an experience for you guys to come to [Phoenix Comicon], and the last thing you guys want to do is feel the stress of something. So put it this way, I did the best I could for you guys. I hope you guys experienced a great time, because I did. I’ve never been to Phoenix, and Phoenix [Comicon] said I could come back every year if I want…Thank you.
Your prayers are always awesome. I really appreciate it. I know people are concerned. Don’t worry, man. Things are okay. I know God has amazing things in store for everyone, and God always has my back.”
Do you geeks think the weapon ban was a good move? Will this incident affect how safe you feel at cons? Sound off in the comments below!