Everett Mall theaters cleared out by pepper spray release

EVERETT — All 16 theaters at an Everett Mall cinema complex were evacuated Sunday night after someone released pepper spray.

“People started coughing and then we could smell it,” said Laura Holst, an employee at Regal Cinemas Everett Mall Stadium 16, 1402 SE Everett Mall Way.

She said the canister of pepper spray was set off in Theater 16.

The new release, “Think Like a Man,” was playing. The movie is a comedy about five ethnically diverse couples.

The movie theater complex was jammed with people catching a film before the end of the weekend.

Holst and other staff handed out refund tickets as people filed out.

A theater employee called 911 just after 8 p.m.

The Everett Fire Department called in its hazardous materials team as a precaution. When first responders arrived, they found theater employees evacuating moviegoers.

There were no reported injuries.

Pepper spray contains capsaicin, a chemical derived from cayenne, paprika, or chilies, according to King County Public Health. Exposure to pepper spray causes burning, irritation, tearing and pain in the eyes.

Airway symptoms include burning, sneezing, cough, shortness of breath. Gagging and vomiting may also occur.

Reporter Debra Smith: 425-339-3197 or dsmith@heraldnet.com

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