Shocking news from the Phoenix Comicon, where on Thursday a heavily-armed man was arrested. According to court documents, the man planned to kill actor Jason David Frank, best known for his role as the Green Power Ranger, who was attending as a guest, as well as police officers and others.
31 year-old Mathew Sterling of Mesa, AZ was arrested at the con with a shotgun, 2 .45 caliber handgun, and a .454 caliber handgun. All were fully loaded. He also had pepper spray, throwing stars and a combat knife. The convention inspects all weapons, real & prop, entering the convention, but Sterling told police he was able to bypass those screenings.
His arrest came after he told his plans to a facebook acquaintance in California, who immediately notified her local police, who in turn notified Phoenix Police. Sterling was arrested 11 minutes after police in California were notified. He initially resisted arrest.
Sterling has been charged with attempted murder, three counts of aggravated assault, wearing body armor during the commission of a felony, resisting arrest, and carrying a weapon in a prohibited place. He is being held on $1 million bond.
According to AZ Central, “Sterling’s face was painted black and he wore all black clothes, a red bandanna and a strap across his chest containing shotgun ammunition when he entered the Phoenix Convention Center.”
The police report states that Sterling told police that he was The Punisher and that he had stabbed Jason David Frank 15 years ago and went to the convention “to finish the job”. He also planned to kill “bad” police officers.
As a result of this incident, the Phoneix Comicon immediately implemented new policies including a ban on all prop and replica weapons. Attendees were also subject to more thorough screening, which was causing long delays for admission.
Vendors are still allowed to sell prop weapons as long as they remain sealed.