Westlake PD: Satchel similar to one confiscated
WESTLAKE -- Westlake investigators are still trying to piece together what compelled Scott A. Smith, 37, of North Ridgeville to walk into a local movie theater with several weapons.
Smith's mugshot shows a man with a stock build, unsmiling and staring at the camera. His light brown hair is buzzed, the same length as his mustache and beard.
Smith was arrested last Saturday night, after police say he walked into the Regal Cinemas in Crocker Parker, bought a movie ticket for the 10 p.m. "The Dark Knight Rises" movie, and walked into the theater with those weapons.
Officer Jeremiah Bullins, an off-duty Westlake Police officer who was working security, and the theater manager noticed the beige satchel Smith was carrying and became suspicious.
Smith was the first and only person inside that movie theater at the time. Westlake Police say he sat in the center seat in the back row, a place with "tactical advantage."
"His back was to the wall. Basically, if he chose to do something there, all his potential victims were in front of him, and he would have an advantage over them," said Lt. Ray Arcuri, with Westlake Police.
A total of 70 to 80 people later came to watch the movie. Officer Bullins and the theater manager approached Smith, and asked to see his bag, now on the floor and between his feet. Smith complied.
Inside the bag was a fully loaded 9 mm pistol, two full magazines- each carrying about 16 per 17 rounds, and 3 knives. Officer Bullins found a fourth knife underneath Smith's clothing.
Smith was immediately arrested. He is now facing four counts of carrying various weapons, 1 count for carrying a concealed weapon, and a possible felony charge for having weapons under disability -- stemming from a medication that could prohibit him from owning a firearm.
He did not have a concealed carry permit.
"We're unable to establish a motive right now, or what his plans were," said Arcuri.
They took his truck, and the tactical vest inside into evidence and searched his North Ridgeville home, finding a room dedicated to weapons in the house he shared with his wife and one-year-old daughter.
"Lot of long guns in there, pistols, a lot of ammunition," said Arcuri. Smith's wife told police she knew about the gun room, but had no idea what his motive would be.
Neighbors say it leaves them with lots of questions.
"It just shocks me and it's like, what here? This person? He doesn't seem at all like the kind of person that would do something like that," Pati Habenicht.
"Makes me not want to go to the movies because of what happened at the other movie theater, and now this again. It's just scary," said Ashlie Larissey, who frequently walks past his Emerald Street home.
Police say Smith never made any threats, and never spoke about killing anyone. And aside from traffic violations, Smith has no criminal record.
He served in the Army, but was discharged just one month into basic training in February 1995.
"You never know what people are capable of, and it's a very risk situation. So yeah, the officer, like I said, he should be commended for what he did. That was an outstanding job," said Arcuri.