Six Dead, Scores Injured at Manhattan Theater
Talk Show Host Glenn Beck Questioned in Wild Riot
By Wendell Swynn
The New York Post-American
February 11, 2010
NEW YORK Police are still investigating who or what caused a panicked m魩e Wednesday night at The Public Square Theater in downtown Manhattan that killed six and sent at least twenty-five to the hospital, but senior NYPD sources close to the investigation say that Glenn Beck, a Fox News cable channel talk show host, is now a ‘person of interest’ and undergoing intensive interrogation.
Suspicion has centered on Mr. Beck as several eyewitnesses reported the controversial television host stood up and began shouting ‘fire’ midway through a showing of the Michael Moore film, “Capitalism: A Love Story.”
“I saw him, he was down front,” said Mr. Horace Nubbin, a Brooklyn cabdriver, referring to Mr. Beck, “and he jumped up suddenly and started yelling the place was on fire. I just grabbed my kids and ran, along with hundreds of other people.”
Venola Gaye, a waitress from Queens, described the ensuing fracas, “People were just trampling each other trying to get to the exits it was horrible, the theater was packed. Me and my family were lucky we were in the seats in back, so we got out easy. What was this guy thinking? Did he think this was some big joke or something?”
Before being taken into custody, Mr. Beck admitted to reporters that he shouted ‘fire,’ but said it was only meant as a question. “You know, it was like, ‘are you ready for a fire?’ or speculating, ‘what if we had a fire started by city inspectors for some reason’ or ‘what if the management of the theater lit the place on fire for the insurance money?’ You know, I’m just a rodeo clown and I say what’s on my mind. I can’t help it if some people don’t get the context or whatever. I was just posing possibilities and asking questions.”
But witnesses disagree. Mr. Euell Doonce from Long Island, who was sitting a row behind Mr. Beck, said, “He was mumbling something low and inaudible but when he said ‘fire’ he screamed it at the top of his lungs, several times.” His wife Umelda, also a witness, added, “There’s no doubt he started this panic. This wiseacre ought to be thrown in jail.”
At press time, authorities had not determined whether Mr. Beck would be charged, but various witnesses reported that Mr. Beck was sitting with two men who were also yelling ‘fire’ in unison with Mr. Beck. It’s been alleged that the pair were radio talker Rush Limbaugh and Fox News host Sean Hannity. Both men are being sought by police for questioning.