HOWELL TOWNSHIP, N.J. — Loud bangs caused a scare at a New Jersey movie theater and sent moviegoers running for safety, WCBS reports.
Turns out it was just part of a man’s grand proposal to his girlfriend.
Howell Township Police body camera footage shows the mass panic as police search the Xscape movie theater with guns drawn Wednesday evening after reports of gunshots.
“I was trembling. One cop car after the other, coming in with the lights on. They had German Shepherd dogs out here. We saw cops running with automatic rifles running into the theater,” said Florence Pittius, a moviegoer.
Pittius and her husband Albert were 30 minutes into their movie when.
“We heard pop, pop, pop, pop. People started screaming, get down, get down, run. We started — the whole theater got up and started running all over the place,” Pittius said.
Others called 911.
There was not a shooter.
Exclusive video shows 23-year-old Nathan Sanders set fireworks off and run across the street.
After he runs away, the explosions can be seen.
Police say he set the large illegal mortar fireworks off while a friend was proposing marriage at the neighboring climb zone in celebration.
“Definitely not a smart decision to make, especially near a movie theater. We captured him pretty quickly due to eyewitnesses. We were able to identify him and arrest him. He was very apologetic,” said Chief Andrew Kudric with the Howell Township Police.
Sanders has been charged criminally and released from custody.
His father called the situation a misunderstanding.
Police say people did the right thing by calling for help and running out of the enclosed space.
“A horrible thing to have to worry about when you just go to relax and enjoy a movie,” Pittius said.