Witnesses told investigators a man, later identified as 19-year-old Enrique Padilla, arrived at the theater with his girlfriend and found another couple in at least one of their reserved seats, CBS News reported.
Police said staff at the theater tried to help resolve the issue, but the argument escalated with a bucket of popcorn being thrown, shoving and then gunfire.
Michael Tenorio, 52, was shot and died at the scene, according to officials. His wife, Trina Tenorio, said he was unarmed.
Padilla fled the theater, but he was found wounded, hiding behind a bush outside an emergency exit, officials said. Police also said they found a gun outside that was compatible with spent casings found inside the theater.
A criminal complaint notes Padilla was wounded in the abdomen, but the document did not give any further explanation of how the injury occurred, CBS News reported.
Witnesses told police that Padilla’s girlfriend got into a fight with Tenorio’s wife before she ran from the scene, officials said.
An off-duty police officer was at the same movie and they administered emergency aid to Tenorio. The officer witnessed the confrontation but did not see a weapon in the darkened movie theater before hearing a rapid-fire succession of gunshots and then seeing Padilla run out of the theater.
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Padilla was taken to a local hospital for his injuries, where he remains under guard, according to authorities.
Police are asking anyone who took video of the incident to submit it to the department’s evidence portal.
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