North Carolina

Threat to ‘shoot up’ theater playing ‘Joker’ movie in North Carolina ends with arrest

A threat to “shoot up” a movie theater showing the film “Joker” on multiple screens has landed one person in jail in North Carolina.

The New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office reported Friday afternoon that Nikolai James Dixon Jr. was arrested in connection with social media threats involving a theater in Wilmington on the North Carolina coast.

Dixon was identified by TV station WWAY as a teen who attends E.A. Laney High School. The threat posted on Instagram gave a date and time for when he intended to act, the station said. The Wilmington Star News reported Dixon is 17.

The threat comes at a time when the Associated Press has reported extra precautions were being taken at theaters around the country after “online chatter” suggested mass shootings were being planned at theaters on the day the movie premiered, which was Friday.

New Hanover County officials said Dixon threatened “to shoot up the AMC movie theater located on 111 Cinema Drive.”

“Thanks to local citizens and the media who notified us of his online social media post we were able to locate and identify Dixon,” the department said in a press release. “At no point did Nixon have the means to carry out any threat. He has been charged with Cyberstalking and is in the New Hanover County Detention Facility.”

A theater in Huntington Beach, California, closed Thursday evening “when it received word of a ‘credible threat’ surrounding the movie,” Deadline reported Friday.

“There has been much concern over potential incidents surrounding the Warner Bros/Village Roadshow pic centered on Batman’s arch-enemy,” the Deadline report said. “Its depiction of violence has raised eyebrows in a year of mass shootings across the nation.”

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Mark Price has been a reporter for The Charlotte Observer since 1991, covering beats including schools, crime, immigration, the LGBTQ issues, homelessness and nonprofits. He graduated from the University of Memphis with majors in journalism and art history, and a minor in geology.