An 18-year-old Eagan man was charged Thursday for allegedly setting off an aerial firework in an Eagan movie theater last week — a blast that injured two people, including an 11-month-old infant, and made panicked moviegoers run for the exits.
Approximately 40 people were inside an Emagine Theater auditorium for the horror-thriller “The Black Phone” when Khalid Bedel Hassan lit the firework and threw it just after 8 p.m. July 12, according to a criminal complaint filed in Dakota County District Court charging him with four felonies and a misdemeanor offense.
Both victims were seated in the handicap row. The infant sustained burns on her cheeks and nose. The other victim had multiple cuts on her leg and was later referred to a wound clinic to undergo the removal of debris and infected tissue from the wounds.
Police officers noted that several people were visibly upset afterward and they believed it was gunfire and were going to be killed, the complaint states.
The explosion burned the theater’s screen and carpet. Damage was estimated at more than $1,000.
SUSPECTS FILMED THE INCIDENT
Surveillance from the theater, as well as footage recorded by the suspects and later posted to social media, shows four young males entering the auditorium a few minutes before the firework goes off. One, identified later as Hassan, is seen walking down the aisle, lighting the firework and then throwing it into the area directly in front of the handicap row, according to the complaint.
The firework explodes moments later. Three suspects run, while the fourth stays in the auditorium and continues to film the aftermath. Several people run “out of the theater in a panic,” the complaint read.
Eagan police arrested Hassan on Tuesday.
In an interview with police, he admitted to lighting the firework and throwing it, the complaint states. He also identified himself in the recorded footage, and officers found the clothes he was wearing at the time of the offense during a search of his home.
He’s been charged with threats of violence (intent to terrorize), first-degree criminal damage to property (foreseeable risk of bodily harm), first-degree criminal damage to property (in excess of $1,000), third-degree assault (victim under age 4) and misdemeanor fifth-degree assault (inflict or attempt bodily harm).
Hassan made an initial court appearance on the charges Thursday. He remained at the Dakota County Jail in lieu of $50,000 bail ($25,000 with conditions) set by Judge Jerome Adams.
A search of Minnesota court records shows Hassan does not have a criminal record.