Alleged Benghazi movie theater shooter said he brought gun to protect against mass shooter

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The man who allegedly accidentally shot a woman during a screening of Michael Bay's 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi told police he had a gun with him to protect from a mass shooter. This is a good example of why "good guy with a gun" reasoning is dumb.

The shooting occured at the Landing theater in Renton, Wash., at around 8 p.m. local time Thursday. Witnesses say roughly 15 minutes into the movie, 40-year-old Michelle Mallari was shot through the chest. She survived, and is now in the hospital in stable condition.

People in the audience thought the sound they heard was a lightbulb exploding. KOMO News reports:

"I believe the lady in front of us that got shot was actually talking to her husband or significant other and that's when we heard the loud pop," said one witness, who did not want to be identified. He was sitting 3 or 4 rows behind the man when the gun went off. "It must have been a light bulb or the projector lens or something that loud, but I mean I've owned guns and that's definitely a gunshot for me," the witness added.


According to police, the alleged shooter, identified as Dane Gallion, 29, said he had a gun with him for protection. Detective Robert Onishi elaborated, "[Gallion] told some people he'd taken the gun out because he was concerned about the possibility of mass shootings there."


Officials say Gallion was drunk and on Xanax at the time of the shooting. Again, from KOMO News:

Investigators believe Gallion may have been intoxicated at the time. Reports show Gallion told police he had taken a Xanax for anxiety in the morning, then ate a pizza and drank a 22-ounce beer before the movie. "Preliminary accounts indicate that an intoxicated suspect entered one of the theaters and was fumbling with a handgun he had in his possession when it went off, striking another patron seated in front of him," Renton Police said in a statement.


Police believe Gallion accidentally shot Mallari through her chair, and then sulked out of the theater. He turned himself in about 90 minutes after the shooting, after his father called the police.

Still, there are questions about what actually happened. The Seattle Times reports:

[Dane's] father, Donald Gallion, had called the King County sheriff’s dispatch to say his son had returned home extremely upset, claiming the gun had fallen out of his pocket and gone off, police said. Dane Gallion later told the arresting officer that another moviegoer reached for his crotch and that’s when he accidentally fired the gun, according to the probable-cause statement. Gallion said he fled the theater immediately because he didn’t want to be taken for a mass shooter. Finally, at the Renton police station, he told another officer that a man had been bothering him, but declined to go into the details, according to the statement. Gallion alleged the gun accidentally went off and scared him, prompting him to leave; he denied having handled the gun.


Gallion has a concealed weapons permit and was carrying the weapon legally. He's facing a third degree assault charge and has since been released on a $25,000 bail.

Danielle Wiener-Bronner is a news reporter.