*AN UPDATE WAS MADE TO THIS STORY ON AUGUST 24
It seems like every weekend you hear about another mass shooting in America. This time however, a potential mass shooting was avoided at a music festival in Washington.
Thanks to multiple reports from concert goers and quick action by police, a possible mass shooting might have been avoided.
On Friday night the Grant County Sheriff’s Office arrested a man who may have had plans to commit a mass shooting at the Gorge Amphitheater in Washington. The arrest took place at the popular EDM festival “Bass Canyon” which is hosted each year by Canadian DJ and music Producer Jeff Abel who goes by the stage name “Excision”.
According to the Grant County Sheriff’s Office, “Citizens and security notified deputies around 9 p.m. of a man in the parking lot. Witnesses’ suspicions were raised when they saw the man inhale an unknown substance or gas from a balloon and then load two 9mm pistols from the trunk of his car. The man concealed one pistol in the rear of his waistband and the other in an outside-the-waistband holster. The suspect, later identified as 31-year-old Jonathan R. Moody of Ephrata Pennsylvania, approached concertgoers, asking what time the concert ended and where people would be exiting the venue. Moody did not make access inside the venue. Venue security detained Moody outside of the venue gates and disarmed him of the two loaded 9mm pistols. After investigating, deputies arrested Moody on suspicion of one count of possession of a dangerous weapon and one count of unlawful carrying or handling of a weapon. Moody was lodged in the Grant County Jail.”
The Friday night show sold out which meant there were over 25,000 people in attendance. While weapons are not allowed at the Gorge Amphitheater, Moody’s possession of weapons was not the sole reason for his arrest. The actions of Moody, such as inhaling an intoxicant, loading weapons in the parking lot, and asking where concertgoers would exit, added to the suspicions of witnesses.
In the Facebook post, the Sheriff’s Office also reminded people to remember to stay vigilant saying, “Remember: if you see something, say something. Citizens saw something completely out of place for the circumstances and notified security, who in turn notified deputies. That combination of situational awareness along with noticing “something does not fit” resulted in a possible tragedy being prevented.”
The full statement can be found on the Grant County Sheriff’s Office Facebook Page.
The official Bass Canyon team released a statement on their Twitter account saying, “Last night, a pistol carrying local man was arrested after reportedly being seen outside the venue at the Day Parking lot. He did not have a festival wristband and was not attempting to enter the festival. Safety is our top priority. Thank you to the fans who reported him, and the venue security and sheriff‘s department for handling the situation. Always look out for each other, stay safe, and remember if you see something say something. -Team Bass Canyon”
People quickly reacted on Twitter thanking the individuals who reported the man. Others responded with sadness and anger expressing their fear that they could have been victims of a mass shooting.
There is speculation that the man was not attempting to commit a mass shooting but instead was a drug dealer who had individuals selling for him on the inside. The man’s motives and reason for being at the festival are still unknown. The Grant County Sheriff’s Office has not released any further statements on the matter.
AUG 24 UPDATE: The Grant County Police Department released a statement on their facebook page on August 23 updating the public on their investigation. In the post the Department says after interviewing Moody they do NOT believe his intent was to cause a mass shooting. “Detectives have interviewed Moody and have served search warrants on two vehicles. While the investigation is not yet finished, what we can say is that we now don’t feel that his intent was to cause a mass shooting.”
This situation is scary and underscores the importance of staying aware of your surroundings. This could have been a tragic event and it’s a stark reminder that you always have to be vigilant and report suspicious behavior. Who knows… maybe you will be the one to stop the next shooting.