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The Latest: Police: Facebook posts led to Comicon arrest

Associated Press logo Associated Press 5/26/2017
This Thursday, May 25, 2017, photo provided by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office shows Matthew Sterling in Phoenix, Ariz. Sterling was taken into custody Thursday after a brief struggle with police at the Phoenix Convention Center. Police are adding extra security at the Phoenix Comicon following the arrest of Sterling, who was armed with guns and ammunition and who allegedly posted online threats against police officers. (Maricopa County Sheriff's Office via AP) © The Associated Press This Thursday, May 25, 2017, photo provided by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office shows Matthew Sterling in Phoenix, Ariz. Sterling was taken into custody Thursday after a brief struggle with police at the Phoenix Convention Center. Police are adding extra security at the Phoenix Comicon following the arrest of Sterling, who was armed with guns and ammunition and who allegedly posted online threats against police officers. (Maricopa County Sheriff's Office via AP)

PHOENIX (AP) — The Latest on an arrest at Phoenix Comicon (all times local):

1:00 p.m.

Phoenix police say there are indications an armed man arrested at Phoenix Comicon is mentally disturbed and that he told detectives he's a crime-fighting comic book character and planned to shoot bad police officers.

Police also say in a probable-cause statement released Friday that officers took Mathew Enrique Nava Sterling into custody at the Phoenix Convention Center after somebody contacted Hawthorne, California, police to report that Sterling was posting threats on Facebook about killing police officers at the Comicon event.

Court documents indicate Sterling lives in suburban Mesa and is 29.

Sterling didn't have an attorney present during an initial court appearance Friday. He spoke only briefly, agreeing when a judge told him it might not be in his interest to comment.

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This story has been corrected to show that court documents spell Sterling's first name as Mathew and indicate his age is 29.

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11:35 a.m.

Phoenix Comicon security has greatly tightened with officials banning all prop weapons after police arrested an armed man who they say allegedly made threats to harm a performer and posted online threats against police officers.

Massive crowds of attendees are experiencing heavy delays Friday as they wait hours in long lines before eventually going through added security screenings and entering the event.

Comic book and science fiction fans are fervently complaining about the Phoenix Comicon organizers' sudden ban on costume prop weapons. They say the fake weapons are often essential in completing costumes and can be extremely costly to build or buy. Prop weapons include swords, sabers and fake guns.

Police didn't identify the performer who allegedly was threatened but say the man arrested Thursday was Mathew Sterling.

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This story has been corrected to show that court documents spell Sterling's first name as Mathew and indicate his age is 29.

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8:35 a.m.

Police say a man who was armed with guns and ammunition when arrested at the Phoenix Comicon allegedly made threats to harm a performer at the event and posted online threats against police officers.

Police didn't identify the performer who allegedly was threatened but say the man arrested Thursday was Mathew Sterling. His hometown wasn't released.

Police say Sterling was taken into custody after a brief struggle at the entertainment and conic convention.

Sgt. Mercedes Fortune says Sterling was jailed on suspicion of attempted murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, wearing body armor during the commission of a felony, resisting arrest and carrying a weapon in a prohibited place.

Fortune says officers at Comicon were alerted to a suspicious man making threats against police on social media and the postings included photos of officers working the event.

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This story has been corrected to show that court documents spell Sterling's first name as Mathew and indicate his age is 29.

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