A man accused of bringing a firearm into an Albuquerque movie theater last week was ordered by a judge Wednesday to remain in jail pending trial.
Darnell Hill, 25, was arrested on a charge of carrying a firearm into a liquor establishment after he allegedly brought an AR-style rifle into Flix Brewhouse late Friday. Employees wrestled the gun away from Hill following a brief confrontation in the kitchen, prosecutors alleged at a detention hearing.
Second Judicial District Court Judge Stan Whitaker applauded the employees who disarmed Hill.
“The employees there were very brave to try and deescalate” the situation, Whitaker said after watching security video of Hill’s encounter with kitchen staff. “When that didn’t work, in terms of giving it up, they disarmed him, and I thought it was very brave of them to do that.”
Prosecutors showed security video of Hill entering the kitchen carrying the gun and a cell phone. Employees gathered around Hill and spoke with him briefly before forcibly taking the gun.
Hill’s attorney, Demyra Hover, said that employees didn’t appear frightened of Hill or attempt to flee.
“The staff members did not run away,” Hover told the judge. “The staff members were actually engaged in conversation with him. Mr. Hill was not pointing a weapon at anyone. Mr. Hill did not have intentions to harm anyone that day.”
Whitaker said he disagreed that the encounter appeared harmless.
“I think they all gathered around to make sure it didn’t get any worse, or that he didn’t run out and start shooting at patrons,” Whitaker said. “I think we’re very lucky that we’re not here for something more grave.”
Prosecutors also allege that Hill was under the influence of alcohol and drugs at the time.
Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Detective Cameron Carroll said at the hearing that staff members were shaken by the encounter.
Employees “said they had some type of dialogue with him,” Carroll testified. “Once they had enough people inside the kitchen, the kitchen manager moved up and grabbed the barrel of the firearm.”
The manager said “she leaned her weight onto it and tried to grab it away from him and other employees joined in,” Carroll said.
Employees then secured the firearm in a locked room and told Hill to leave the business, he said.
Hill was carrying an AR 15-style rifle with a 30-round clip that contained 24 rounds, Carroll said.
New Mexico law prohibits the carrying of weapons into an establishment that sells alcohol for consumption. Flix is a movie theater that serves alcohol.