Violence is in the movies is something that we've come to expect and even enjoy, but only because we know it's not real. Actual violence in movie theaters was a too common occurrence before the pandemic, and now that theaters are open again, it seems that has also returned. One person is dead and another is seriously injured following a shooting inside a movie theater in Southern California that had been showing The Forever Purge. However, this case is more than a little unusual and there are still many questions surrounding what happened.
Police were called at about 11:45 PM on Monday to the Regal Edwards Corona Crossings in Corona, CA, southeast of Los Angeles. An 18-year-old woman and a 19-year-old man were found shot inside of a theater where The Forever Purge had started showing at 9:35 PM. According to the Press-Enterprise newspaper, they were discovered by a theater employee. The woman Rylee Goodrich of Corona, was declared dead at the scene, while the man, Anthony Barajas, also of Corona, was transported to the hospital with potentially fatal injuries. He was still on life support as of Tuesday evening.
Police are investigating the matter, although investigators are apparently unsure if the victims were shot by a third person, or if the shooting was a murder-suicide. There was reportedly no gun found at the scene, but neither was there any evidence that a third person shot the victims and fled. Only six tickets to the showing had been sold and police are attempting to locate the other people who were in the theater.
Since the movie began at 9:35 and has a runtime of one hour and 45 minutes, it would have ended around 11:20 PM. However, when you add in previews and ads, it seems likely the bodies were discovered very shortly after the film ended, which would indicate the shooting took place during the movie itself or just as it was ending. Which means the other four people in the theater may know something useful, even if they didn't really see what happened.
While the weapon used was not recovered, the police did discover "items of evidentiary value" inside the theater, so there are leads being followed up on that may explain what happened here. While the fact that two people were shot inside a movie about what happens when all crime is legal, has certainly been recognized, it's unclear what, if any, connection the film's theme may have had to the crime itself.
While violence at movie theaters is unfortunately not uncommon, when we see it, it is usually much more straight forward than this situation. There are a lot of unanswered questions here, though it appears police may be on the way to unraveling this mystery.