An Albuquerque man was arrested for allegedly carrying a loaded “AR-15 style rifle” into a movie theater late Friday night while he was intoxicated.
Darnell Hill, 24, was charged with unlawfully carrying a firearm into a licensed liquor establishment and negligent use of a deadly weapon in connection with the incident, which led theater employees to frantically run for the exits or hide, according to a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court.
Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office deputies were called to the Flix Brewhouse, a movie theater west of Coors in northwest Albuquerque, around 11:30 p.m. Friday.
Employees had wrestled a rifle from Hill, who carried the weapon into the theater and ran into the kitchen. Employees ran out the doors or tried to hide during the encounter, according to the complaint.
Investigators obtained surveillance footage that showed employees confronting Hill and ultimately wrestling the rifle from him. The employees removed Hill from the theater and held him until deputies arrived, according to the complaint.
Police said Hill never pointed a weapon at any of the employees, according to the complaint.
The movie theater has several posted signs that state no weapons are allowed, according to the complaint. And the business also sells alcohol, according to the sheriff’s office. It’s against the law in New Mexico to carry a firearm into liquor establishments where drinks are consumed on site.
Deputies wrote in the complaint that Hill was apparently intoxicated.
“I observed Darnell’s eyes to be glossed over, he was sweaty and rambling,” the deputy wrote in the complaint. “The employees advised me Darnell had been rapping and making nonsensical statements to them prior to taking the gun away from him.”
The gun was loaded with 24 .223 caliber rounds, according to the complaint.
Hill’s girlfriend, who was at the theater as well, said the couple had brought the girlfriend’s child to the movies and at one point Hill left to use “yay” and “drank,” which the deputy wrote meant cocaine and alcohol, according to the complaint.
Flix CEO Chance Robertson said the theater hires security, who also responded to the incident. Robertson said the company will arrange for professional counseling for its employees.
No members of the public were involved in the encounter. Robertson said theater staff don’t believe Hill had entered the theater prior to coming in with a gun.
“We are incredibly proud of the team members who came face to face with a very dangerous situation on Friday night. We train our team on the potential of violence in the workplace but as we all know, nothing can adequately prepare you for what they faced and we’re hopeful no one on our team ever has to do that again,” Robertson said in a statement. “Their ability to stay calm under incredible pressure is beyond admirable and we cannot say enough about how brave they were.”