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Columbia movie theater evacuated after reports of man with a gun

Multiple units of police officers respond to a Columbia movie theater.

Columbia police evacuated a movie theater Tuesday night after the department was called to the location twice for reports of a man with a gun on the property.

Police said in the first instance, the man was in the parking lot of the Regal theater off Stadium Boulevard, waving around a gun, asking people for help. When police first responded, they said they couldn't find him in the parking lot area.

About an hour later, just after 10 p.m., police said, multiple employees of the theater reported the man had walked into the building with a gun.

Dozens of officers responded to search the area and the building but found no one as of early Wednesday morning.

Officers said employees initially hid when they saw the man walking in, so they didn't know if he made his way through the movie theater or if he walked in and walked out.

Police confirmed no one was injured and a suspect has not been identified.

"It's kind of an ongoing investigation," said Lt. Matt Stephens Tuesday night. "But we've been out here twice and couldn't find anything and we have limited leads."

Investigators said the man appeared to have "some sort of psychotic break." "Since we couldn't make contact with anyone, we can't say for certain that's what it was," said Stephens.


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