Theme Park Insider

Shooting Suicide at Universal Studios Hollywood

April 3, 2015, 3:35 PM · A man died of what authorities are calling a self-inflicted gunshot this afternoon at Universal Studios Hollywood.

The incident happened after 2pm near a smoking area behind the Super Silly Fun Land water playground.

At the same time, many Universal visitors started posting to Twitter and other social media that they were being kept inside the gift shop at the exit of the adjacent Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride due to a person with a gun in the vicinity.

Universal team members reacted swiftly, distributing water, answering questions and tending to guests who were being kept from moving within the area around the shooting until it was secured.

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that the man's ex-girlfriend works at the park, had a restraining order against him, and reported him to security when she saw him in the park. A sheriff's deputy and park security approached the man, who then pulled out the gun and shot himself. It appears that the man was carrying the gun in his waistband or a back pocket, and it was not seen at the bag check point when he entered the park.

Like most major theme parks, Universal Studios has a bag check outside its front gate. However, it's just a bag check, not a body check. Universal recently installed metal detectors in the queue of its Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit roller coaster at Universal Studios Florida, to prevent visitors from bringing loose objects onto that ride, but it does not routinely use metal detectors to screen visitors entering its parks during normal operations. Metal detectors have been used at certain special events, including past Halloween Horror Nights, according to visitors.

This post has been updated. Were you in the park this afternoon? Please tell us what you saw, in the comments.

Replies (21)

April 3, 2015 at 3:46 PM · they also do not bag check employees
April 3, 2015 at 3:47 PM · Could have been in his pocket or wait band. Sad, but not surprising.
April 3, 2015 at 4:32 PM · Let's offer a big thank you to the Universal team members in that video for their work in managing what must have been a very tough situation.
April 3, 2015 at 5:25 PM · This is terrible. Last thing Universal needs while they are going through such a change.
April 3, 2015 at 8:16 PM · I honestly find this shocking! If someone told me that someone died at Universal, or any park for that matter, i would've thought it would've due to a roller coaster malfunction. My only question is, why Universal? I know many people commit suicide often due to such things as depression; but of all places, why Universal? Did he want to make his death public, to attract more attention to himself?
April 3, 2015 at 8:48 PM · My family and I were in the park today and weren't informed of this until after we left the park at 7pm. They only closed the Dispicable Me area. We went on the ride around 1 and thankfully left before this happened.

I wish they would check people for weapons instead of outside food.

April 3, 2015 at 10:54 PM · They do bag check employees, i use to work there.
April 3, 2015 at 11:26 PM · As reported before the mental health care in the US is below zero and access to guns is very easy and this is the combination of the 2 of them.
Big respect for Universal how they handled a though situation.
I hope this doesn't leed to pedding down or metal detectors to create a fals sence of security as is done now at theme parks with the bag checks.
April 3, 2015 at 11:38 PM · This broke up our family while we were visiting universal studios today, kudos to universal staff for looking after the ones that were lucky enough not to involved with this at all!!
April 3, 2015 at 11:39 PM · And why of all places inside the park he choose the kids playground? My son are one of the kids playing and the last group who came out. I was so terrified!
April 4, 2015 at 2:37 AM · Well you want the right to carry arms in America. I'm surprised its not happend before now. If an individual wants to get a gun in, they will find a way too bring it. I hope they dont knee jerk into harsh security changes.
Disney and Universal did bag check staff when I worked for them both, mostly for "loss prevention" reasons (Theft of merchandise)
April 4, 2015 at 6:12 AM · This is tragic and sad, someone bringing a firearm into an amusement park is scary. I hate to think of where this might lead. The entrances to theme park becoming like TSA. The cost would be passed along to the guest I suppose.
The price of feeling safe in today's gun culture will be expensive.
April 4, 2015 at 8:09 AM · Lol! Let's not turn this into a gun control debate with "gun culture"comment. Bottom line Theme parks need to increase security with TSA style checkpoints-this is just a sample of the kind of carnage that is inevitable. Soft targets like theme parks I'm sure is on every terrorist "to do" list. Why wait for disaster to strike.
April 4, 2015 at 10:14 AM · TSA lines are the very last thing I want at a theme park. Id rather the money be spent on armed security, but honestly I feel safe enough as it is now. Could it be safer? Sure, but it will never be 100% safe no matter the money spent.
April 4, 2015 at 11:26 AM · Good for the employee for pointing out the threat rather than just avoiding it. If they had a restraining order and he had a gun, he was obviously a threat to them and others. Luckily he only used the gun on himself, but his intentions were obviously different.
April 4, 2015 at 12:22 PM · What a horrible event. Though it sounds like security handled this well. I hate to think of how this could have gone. There was a shooting between guests at the front gates on Mother's Day in 2003 at Canada's Wonderland. There have been metal detectors at the gates since. When we started traveling to Orlando in 2010 I was surprised that detectors were not used. It is not quite 'TSA level', and lines are not held up much - but definitely worth the added protection.
April 4, 2015 at 8:05 PM · I get that some people feel the "need" to commit suicide, but come on, at a theme park?! Why would you do such a thing in a fun family environment where little kids are present? Imagine if a young adolescent was in observance of this? I just don't understand people now-a-days
April 5, 2015 at 7:40 AM · They should have been passing out Vodka at the Gift shop not water..

It would have made more sense if he did this outside Disaster not....Oh Dissoluble me is not too bad also.

Anyone who does this is a spineless fool... I understand some folks are so depressed and see no other way out, but killing yourself hard on others...

Don't Pity the dead, Pity the living.

April 6, 2015 at 1:39 PM · They should just use the regular bag check and the metal detector scanner used at basketball games
April 6, 2015 at 3:14 PM · At least he didn't take 150 people with him.
April 6, 2015 at 3:46 PM · There's a recent shooting suicide at M Resort at Las Vegas. Apparently, a guy was depressed that he lost a lifetime buffet benefit that he won due to him harrassing and stalking the females staff working at the buffet. Oh well. You can't always get what you want even if he did get a pretty good prize that he promptly lost.

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