HOWELL – It was all a big misunderstanding that caused some widespread panic in the township on New Year’s Day. A Lakewood man trying to help his friend’s marriage proposal ended up causing a scare at the Xscape Movie Theater on Route 9.
Howell Township Police confirmed 23-year-old Lakewood resident Nathan Sanders was charged criminally for setting off fireworks at the Climb Zone near the movie theater while a friend was proposing marriage. In doing so, the sound was misinterpreted as possible gun fire sending patrons running from the theater.
Police believe the man wasn’t trying to cause a problem but showed a lack of judgment.
Police updated their Facebook page a short time ago that said the theater was cleared by Howell, Lakewood and Jackson Police. There were no victims, no shots fired and the theater manager confronted the male subject who lit fireworks outside the theater.
Police also said that officers found the remnants of discharged fireworks.
Lisa DiMartino-Guinan was in the theater at the time. She posted the following on the police department’s Facebook page: “We were in theater 9, and heard what sounded like shots. The entire theater ran to get out. What a God awful experience. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. Who ever thought shooting off fireworks to sound like a fun going off needs to be held accountable. Thank you to the quick action of the police and I am so glad no one was hurt in the process.”
Sanders was charged and released from police custody.