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Phoenix police: Comicon suspect threatened police, performer

Associated Press logo Associated Press 5/26/2017

PHOENIX (AP) — Police are adding extra security at the Phoenix Comicon following the arrest of a man armed with guns and ammunition who allegedly threatened to harm a performer and posted online threats against police officers.

The man was in possession of three handguns, a shotgun, a knife, ammunition, and a variety of other handheld weapons and was wearing body armor, Sgt. Mercedes Fortune said.

Matthew Sterling, 31, was taken into custody Thursday after a brief struggle with police at the Phoenix Convention Center.

Fortune, a police spokeswoman, said Thursday that Sterling had indicated he was armed and intended to kill police officers, and she said Friday he "also made threats to harm a performer at this event."

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Fortune said Sterling is a Phoenix-area resident and that the performer, whom she declined to identify, didn't know Sterling.

Officers working at the venue were alerted about noon to a suspicious man making threats against police on social media and the postings included photos of officers working the event, Fortune said.

The entertainment and comic convention began Thursday in the downtown area.

Prop weapons carried into the four-day event are supposed to be inspected by security staff, but police say the man's weapons weren't checked.

Police said extra security is being added with additional screening and fewer accessible entrances to the building.

"As an added precaution, weapons of any kinds — including simulated, replica or toy weapons — will not be permitted into the venue," Fortune added.

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