A man who said he was Marvel Comics vigilante The Punisher was arrested last Thursday at the Phoenix Convention Center when dude showed up carrying deadly weapons including: three handguns, some pepper spray, throwing stars, a combat knife and a shotgun.
Not only that, but tragedy was definitely averted — thanks to a California woman who tipped off the police after the man reportedly confided in her via social media. The suspect, 31-year-old Mathew Sterling, had allegedly targeted former Green Power Ranger actor Jason David Frank and police officers with plans to assassinate them. The suspect had a calendar reminder set for May 25 on his phone that said: “Kill JDF.”
A mixed martial artist, Jason David Frank (who was thankfully unharmed) has opened up about the alleged assassination attempt at Phoenix Comic-Con to the assembled press, saying: “I’m very grateful to the Phoenix police department for their brave and outstanding efforts, which avoided a terrible tragedy, as recently seen at the concert in Manchester.” He also added:
“This incident is an eye-opening situation to increase and add more securities to all Comic-Cons around the world. Due to the increased securities for the duration of the show, we are banning all prop weapons, however, please do not let this hinder your creativity in the festival atmosphere.”
Sterling was charged with “one count of attempted murder, three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, wearing body armor during the commission of a felony, resisting arrest and carrying a weapon in a prohibited place.
This has led to additional security measures at the convention, including making sure prop weapons sold by merchants on the convention floor were being kept in their packaging until fans left the event. This is a wake-up call for the many convention events everywhere that security needs to be increased to safeguard the lives of fans and talent attending them.