Thornton Police arrested a 48-year-old man after he alarmed movie goers and theater staff for openly carrying a gun into the theater complex.
James G. Mapes was arrested Sunday night at Cinebarre Movie Theater and about 40 people were evacuated as a precaution after he was seen carrying a handgun on his waist in "an open carry postion, visible to others," Thornton Police said in a statement.
"I was a threat to no one, I didn't threaten anybody," Mapes said.
The Cinebarre Theater website says it allows movie-goers to eat food, have alcoholic drinks and describes itself as an "18 and up establishment."
A theater employee told 9News that Mapes carried a gun holster into the building and he had a permit to to carry the weapon.
According to KDVR, police say that Mapes was cooperative and told them the gun was for his own protection.
Mapes was taken into custody for investigation of possession of a dangerous weapon in a liquor and beer establishment. He was booked into a Thornton jail and released on a municipal summons.
"We had people fleeing the theatres, with people yelling there was a man with a gun," Barnes said.
Theaters across the country have been jittery after 12 people were killed and 58 others were wounded or injured at an Aurora movie theater on July 20 during a showing of the Batman film "The Dark Knight Rises."
Colorado prosecutors filed formal charges Monday against James Holmes, a former neuroscience student accused in the theater attack.
Prosecutors were reviewing the case involving Mapes and the charges might be dropped if they determine he was complying with Colorado's concealed carry law that allows people who pass background checks and get training to carry guns in most circumstances, Barnes said.
Mapes told the newspaper he was in a darkened theater for about 15 minutes viewing "The Watch," when the lights came on and the show stopped. He said a woman sitting nearby took a cellphone call then said aloud that someone in the movie complex was seen carrying a gun.
This article has been updated with statements by Mapes, and corrected to reflect that 40 people were evacuated, not theaters full of people.