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Movie Theater Chain Bans Backpacks After Attacks in Tennessee, Louisiana

The policy was implemented two days after an ax-wielding man attacked an audience at a screening of "Mad Max: Fury Road."
A police officer leaves the lobby of a movie theater complex Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015, in Antioch, Tenn., where an investigation continues after police respond to an attacker Wednesday. What initially appeared to be another mass shooting at a movie theater ended up being an attack by a disturbed homeless man who wasn't armed with a real gun and was eventually shot and killed by police.AP

A movie theater chain in the Northeast on Friday banned moviegoers from bringing in backpacks and packages in the wake of attacks at theaters that were about half a month apart in Louisiana and Tennessee.

"To ensure the safety of our guests and employees, for the time being, we are prohibiting any and all backpacks and packages as well as reserving the right to inspect the contents of any purse or bag prior to admission," Showcase Cinemas, owned by National Amusements, Inc., said on its website.

Rachel Lulay, a spokeswoman for National Amusements, said the policy was implemented Friday, two days after an ax-wielding, pepper-spraying man attacked an audience at a screening of "Mad Max: Fury Road" at a Nashville theater.

The suspect, Vincente David Montano, 29, was shot dead by police, and no one he attacked was seriously injured. But a movie theater attacker who shot into a movie audience in Lafayette, Louisiana, on July 24 killed two people and injured nine others before the gunman took his own life.

The two most recent attacks follow other high profile incidents of violence in movie theaters, like a confrontation over texting turned fatal in Florida and the Colorado movie theater massacre that left 12 dead more than three years ago.

Showcase operates theaters in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Ohio.

A study conducted last week by research firm C4 found that less than one-third of moviegoers would favor metal detectors and pat-downs at the entrance of movie theaters.