Reporting David Sutta
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A Miami Beach man arrested after he caused people to panic in a movie theater showing the new Batman movie is now telling his side of the story.
Just after midnight Monday police received a call about possible gunfire at the Regal movie theater on Lincoln Road. When officers arrived they found several people detaining 44-year old David Martin who was yelling and screaming that he “didn’t shoot anybody”.
“I want my side of the story heard.” Martin told CBS4 from his apartment on Miami Beach. “All I was doing was going out, just like everyone else, to have a good time, and enjoy the movie.”
According to Martin midway through the flick, a fellow moviegoer began texting.
“I said to him ‘hey bro can you go over the side of the aisle and go use your phone,” Martin said.
The guy put the phone away. Minutes later in the bathroom, Martin said he was threatened by the texter’s friend. The guy was bigger than Martin and was worried.
Martin said the guy told him “ ‘My boys got you after the movie outside.’ Right there my heart started beating.”
Martin said he went back to the theater, put on his black gloves he had in his book bag in case he had to fight.
“Normally the reason why I wear gloves is because I’m a skateboarder. This is what I do and sometimes I crash and I throw ‘em,” Martin explained.
As he tried to get his neighbors at the movie with him to leave he could sense the audience watching him closely.
James Butler was one of the patrons sitting in the crowd. He said he was nervous about seeing the new Batman movie with his brother Monday night even though the Regal theater was a long way from the Aurora, Colorado theater massacre which left 12 people dead.
“We talked about at the beginning of the movie that if someone comes in that side door we are going over the wall,” said Butler.
Butler said he overheard Martin yell to someone in the audience,“He said to him ‘Let’s go, right now, right *expletive* now’. They walked to the top of the theater, there was an argument that ensued.”
Martin agrees that’s what he said, but it was to one of his neighbors who was at the movie with him. Moments later the guy who confronted him the bathroom earlier stood up.
“He starts to get up and I was telling him sit… dude I’m leaving,” Martin said. “I just want to grab these ladies right here who are my neighbors.”
Suddenly, Martin said someone yelled the word – gun.
“When I hear gun, all the sudden, I’ve never seen anything like it. The whole theater cleared out within three seconds.”
Nghi Ho, on vacation with his family from Houston, couldn’t believe it.
“The next thing I know the theater is filing out, I didn’t think a theater could empty that quickly,” said Ho.
“It was a stampede of people running out of the theater,” said Butler.
Ho’s family ran with the crowd, but he decided to stay put.
“I just crouched down and looked back to see what was going on,” said Ho.
Butler stayed too. When he finally stepped out, he found his brother outside armed.
“My brother had collected a dust pan and a broom. We waited for the gentleman. When I said ‘There’s the guy’ he went after him and I could hear this huge crack of the broom go over the guy’s back and the guy was trying to run out,” said Butler.
“His brother whacked me with a broom. I’ve got bruises all over my body,” Martin said as he showed off his bruises.
After getting hit, Ho grabbed Martin around the neck and wrestled him to the ground. Ho said his breath reeked of alcohol.
“He said ‘It wasn’t me man, let me go’. Whatever, I was like ‘You tell that to the police’,” said Ho. “I was just hanging on for dear life.”
Police arrived minutes later and took over. Ho said he got a lecture from his wife.
“I got an earful,” said Ho. “What a stupid thing to do but it was just pure adrenaline.”
“We weren’t going to let someone get away with that, especially with the way tension is after the Colorado shootings,” said Butler. “We felt that it was appropriate to really let this guy know that he couldn’t mess with us.”
To make the misunderstanding worse, Martin’s neighbors ended up being arrested too.
Valda DeDieu told CBS4, “All I was doing was trying to explain to them there is nothing to be alarmed about.”
She said police arrested her and her teenage daughter for resisting arrest.
“I am absolutely livid.” DeDieu said.
“They got worse charges than I did. And all they were doing was yelling ‘he didn’t do anything. He didn’t do anything,’” Martin explained.
The group said the whole thing was an overreaction.
“If you overreact to everything you are not going to be able to handle anything,” said DeDieu.
“Maybe I didn’t use the choicest words but I was scared myself. Was I justified?,” Martin added
Martin says he plans to fight these charges and may considering filing a lawsuit. After the incident the theater issued the following statement:
“There was a disturbance in a theatre at approximately midnight in South Beach. Regal takes the matter very seriously, accordingly we are working closely with local police,” said Regal’s Vice President of Marketing Russ Nunley. “Regal, our employees and security personnel remain alert and engaged. Our number one priority remains the safety and security of guests and employees.”
A records check showed Martin had a warrant out on him for battery. He’s been charged with causing a disturbance in an establishment and affray (fighting in a public place)