A man armed with loaded handguns and a shotgun was arrested at Phoenix Comicon yesterday and told police he intended to kill "bad" police officers as well as Jason David Frank, the actor known for being the Green Power Ranger who is attending the convention, according to court documents.
The judge set 31-year-old Mathew Sterling's bail at $1 million and he is facing charges of attempted murder, three counts of aggravated assault, resisting arrest, carrying a weapon in a prohibited place, and wearing body armor during the commission of a felony, according to the Phoenix police.
The police report obtained by the Arizona Republic states Sterling "believes that there are police officers that have kind faces in uniform but they can be bad officers," and he "would use violence against them if it meant he needed to protect his friends."
Sterling allegedly told police he was the Punisher, and that the firearms were for "self defense in case officers gave him trouble and that he would shoot to kill."
The police report states that Sterling told them he stabbed the potential victim 15 years ago at an event and wanted to "finish the job."
At Sterling's initial court appearance, Maricopa County prosecutor Ed Leiter said he had set a calendar reminder in his phone for May 25 to "kill JDF comicon."
"He exhibited a dramatic threat to the community beyond police officers, beyond Jason David Frank," Leiter said. "A number of other people were referenced as possible targets or people he wanted to kill."
No one was hurt at the event and Phoenix Comicon organizers have since heightened security measures for the duration of the weekend.
Including restricting the entrances and increasing security at the checkpoints, Convention Director Matthew Solberg said in an email prop weapons would be prohibited at the event.
All costume props are no longer allowed, including foam and cardboard props, shields and sabers. Purchased props will be wrapped by the vendors and must remain so while they are on-site. We encourage you to take your purchases to your car or hotel as soon as possible after purchase.
We understand these are last minute changes as a result of recent events.
We appreciate your patience as we continue to ensure the safety and enjoyment of all our patrons and we look forward to a great event.