PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Another midnight showing of "Dark Knight Rises" has ended with gunfire, this time narrowly missing a 16-year-old boy at the Rave theater in Port St. Lucie.
But police downplayed any connection to the fatal shootings by a lone gunman in a suburban Denver theater during the midnight debut of the Batman movie on Friday where at least 12 people were killed and dozens more were wounded.
A Port St. Lucie man in his 20s fired two bullets outside the theater early Tuesday after he apparently felt threatened by the youth who shoved him and his wife and punched the man in the face, according to police reports.
Moments before, all had viewed the movie during which the youth made disruptive comments, a police spokesman said.
The altercation occurred as the youth was trying to get back into the theater to get a cellphone he left behind, said police spokesman Master Sgt. Frank Sabol.
The unidentified St. Lucie County youth was charged with simple battery, a misdemeanor offense, Sabol said.
The Rave theater incident in Port St. Lucie, "is not connected to the movie itself or to the recent tragedy in Aurora, Colo.," Sabol said.
"This was an isolated incident," Rave Cinema spokesman Danny Digiacomo said after talking with police. He said it is the only gunfire incident reported at any of the theater chain's 62 locations nationwide after the movie's opening.
During the movie showing in Port St. Lucie, the 16-year-old youth and a friend were noisy enough for the theater manager to go into the theater and tell them to be quiet.
The manager stayed in the theater to make sure there were no problems, Sabol said.
After exiting the movie, "(The 16-year-old) was trying to go back in the theater (through the out door) when he bumped into the victim and started an altercation," the officer said. "(The youth) said something." The couple were pushed and the husband was punched in the face and the youth's friend began to approach the couple.
The husband, who is a former Marine, "feared for his safety, pulled his gun, for which he has a concealed permit, and fired two bullets," Sabol said.
One bullet hit the 16-year-old's hat. The other bullet hit a front window at the theater.
Sabol said having a concealed firearm in a movie isn't an offense.
The four suspects, who police said were not armed with any weapons, fled in a SUV. Port St. Lucie police stopped them near the movie theater.
Off-duty Port St. Lucie police officers usually provide law enforcement security at the theater but none were working there early Tuesday when the incident occurred, Sabol said.
Digiacomo said his theater put security measures in place as soon as there was trouble and that police arrived within three minutes.
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