It’s rather safe to assume such getup would stir suspicions. After James Holmes, sporting orange-dyed hair and calling himself “The Joker,” opened fire on a packed house during a screening of the new Batman film on July 20, killing 12 and injuring 58, tensions have understandably been running high at movie theaters.
One Florida man, who claimed he hadn’t heard about the Colorado shooting, was taken into police custody Wednesday after moviegoers were alarmed by his pink hair, streaked facepaint and odd behavior outside a Melbourne, Fla. movie theater Wednesday. He was arrested an outstanding warrant after missing a court date due to a prior misdemeanor charge.
Christopher Sides was arrested outside the Premiere Theater after a call came in about his “suspicious behavior.” Melbourne Police told CNN they received a call at 10:34 a.m. Wednesday reporting that Sides was pacing around both outside and inside the movie theater, wearing a leather jacket and boots.
Despite his dress, Sides wasn’t intending to see The Dark Knight Rises. He had purchased a ticked to The Expendables 2, starring Sylvester Stallone. Like the Batman film, it’s also a violent movie, but police say Sides didn’t make any threats during the movie and wasn’t carrying any weapons.
Police took the 21-year-old into custody as he left the theater. They reported that he was cooperative and made no effort to resist arrest. “My understanding is it was a misdemeanor drug paraphernalia charge,” Melbourne Police Department Spokesman Sheridan Shelley told the New York Daily News. He was expected to face a judge Thursday morning.
Sides’ mother stood up for her son Thursday, telling Florida Today he has special needs and difficulty understanding. “He’s just different and has been wearing face paint since he was a child,” Rebecca Sides said. Orlando news station WFTV learned that Sides had been admitted of his own volition to a mental health institution three times in the past three years.
While his manner of dress ultimately seemed to have little to do with his behavior, security and vigilance have been markedly higher at movie theaters since Holmes’ brazen shooting at the Aurora, Colo. theater seven weeks ago. His massacre has spurred a handful of potential copycat instances, where moviegoers have been arrested from Maine to Southern California, after making threats or carrying guns into theaters. “It was a poor judgment call on his part, wearing make-up to a movie theater,” Sides’ mother told Florida Today.