'Avengers' moviegoers terrified, trampled after minister shouts about God in dark theater


An opening weekend screening of "Avengers: Infinity War" ended in panic and serious injuries when a packed house rushed the exits, mistakenly under the impression that a fellow audience member had a gun.

As the credits rolled in the Redlands, Calif. theater, the Washington Post reports, one man began jumping up and down and shouting about the glory of God.

“I think when he said, ‘If you were to die tonight, would your passage to heaven be guaranteed?’ Something along those lines. I think that’s when people started panicking,” moviegoer Susie Arias told press.

As the alarmed crowd flooded the exits, one woman jumped 20 feet over a railing and was trampled. Another person fainted and had to be dragged out of the theater. One suffered a panic attack.

Law enforcement initially received an incorrect report that 30 to 40 shots had been fired, and authorities quickly swarmed the theater before determining there was no threat. Instead, they found 28-year-old Michael Webber, a minister with Truth and Triumph Ministries.

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Webber said he has done this before -- preached to audiences at movie theaters -- and didn't mean to cause any issue. He had his hands in the air to show he was unarmed, he said, but since the theater was dark, people apparently couldn't tell.

“It’s extremely unfortunate that anyone sustained injuries because of this," Webber said. "Again, I was unarmed.”

Webber received a misdemeanor charge of using offensive language likely to cause a violent reaction.

“If you’re gonna try to draw people towards the Bible, that’s not the way to do it, and he needs to stop,” Arias said.