Theatre Reports ‘Mass Murder’ Threat

A message threatening mass murder left on the voice mail of the  in Elkhart, Ind., and discovered Aug. 31 prompted law enforcement to step up patrols around the 1,700-capacity venue and GM David Smith to review security protocol and emergency plans.


Smith, who reported the threat to police, said in a statement that the message was “serious in nature and unsettling.” The threat targets “the next concert” at the Lerner, according to WNDU-TV, which is a performance of the Elkhart Symphony Sept. 12. “In that message, it implied there would be a mass murder at the next concert that was held at the theatre,” Sgt. Chris Snyder of the Elkhart Police told WNDU. “The Lerner staff did a great job. The person that found [the message], found their supervisor who reported it to the GM and they contacted the police so we could start our investigation.”

A suspect has reportedly been identified, but no further information about that person had been released at press time. “Our box office and theatre staff secured relevant information for law enforcement, and our Elkhart Police Department responded with diligence and professionalism,” Smith said in a statement. “…We work closely with our community’s police officers and firefighters to provide the best training possible for emergency situations. …

“Not all training can prevent senseless acts of violence. Our country has witnessed tragedy in theatres, houses of worship, shopping centers, and more. We all must be aware of our surroundings and the actions of those who are near us, taking steps when necessary to contact authorities of criminal – or potentially criminal – activities.

“We are again reviewing internally the security measures and emergency plans that have been in place since our beautiful space re-opened in 2011 following expansion and renovation. We continue to work with the Elkhart Police Department, Elkhart Fire Department and other first responders and emergency personnel to provide the safest environment possible for patrons,” Smith concluded.