Police: Facebook posts led to Comicon arrest

- More details were released Friday, in relation with the armed man who was arrested on the first day of the Phoenix Comicon.

According to statements made by Phoenix Police on Thursday, Mathew Enrique Nava Sterling was found with a gun, knives, and ammunition, while inside the Phoenix Convention Center. Investigators said he allegedly threatened to harm a performer, as well as police officers.

In interviews with detectives, Sterling reportedly said he was the popular comic book character "The Punisher", and wanted to kill "bad cops". In addition, police said they also found, in Facebook messages, that Sterling allegedly stated he was out to get a man named Jason David Frank, who was appearing at Comicon as the Green Power Ranger.

On Friday night, Frank spoke out about the incident.

"I don't know this individual, but I will pray for him," said Frank.

Sterling reportedly said he stabbed Frank, during an altercation 15 years ago. Frank, however, refuted the claim.

"I think if you mention 'stabbed', and I haven't been stabbed, the story speaks for itself," said Frank.

Police also said, in a probable-cause statement released Friday, that officers took Sterling into custody, after somebody contacted Hawthorne, California, police to report that Sterling was posting threats on Facebook about killing police officers.

Court documents indicate Sterling lives in suburban Mesa and is 29.

Sterling didn't have an attorney present during an initial court appearance Friday. He spoke only briefly, agreeing when a judge told him it might not be in his interest to comment.


Long lines greet Comicon attendees Friday

As a result of the incident with Sterling, long lines and a long wait greeted Comicon fans and cosplayers Friday. People had to go through added security screenings, as they entered the event.

In addition to heightened security, a ban of fake weapons was in place. Reaction to the ban was mixed, with some saying it makes for a more pleasant experience, and others saying less people appeared in costumes, because a prop weapon is a major piece of certain costumes, and that the ban was an overreaction.

The Phoenix Comicon is open until Sunday.

 

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