US military warns service members about extremist violence at 'Joker' screenings

The U.S. military has warned service members of the potential for a mass shooting at theaters showing the upcoming "Joker" film, according to notices from the Army.

The notices, circulated after the Army received an FBI bulletin, warn of extremists possibly replicating the deadly 2012 mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., Gawker Media’s website Gizmodo first reported.


“Posts on social media have made reference to involuntary celibate (‘incel’) extremists replicating” the shooting “at screenings of the Joker movie at nationwide theaters,” according to the notice from Army Materiel Command, which was sent to service members in an email last Wednesday.

“This presents a potential risk to [Defense Department] personnel and family members, though there are no known specific credible threats to the opening of the Joker on 4 October.”

The notice instructs individuals to “identify two escape routes, remain aware of your surroundings, and remember the phrase ‘run, hide, fight.’ Run if you can. If you’re stuck, hide ... and stay quiet. If a shooter finds you, fight with whatever you can.”

A separate memo, sent by officials in the Army’s criminal investigation arm on Monday, notes that the service received a “credible” threat notice from the sheriff's office in Travis County, Texas, which is working with the local FBI field office.

The offices have “discovered disturbing and very specific chatter in the dark web regarding the targeting of an unknown movie theater during the Joker release,” the memo states. “Commanders need to be aware of this threat for soldier and family safety and to increase situational awareness should they choose to attend the release of this movie at a local theater.”

The incel subgroup has gained nationwide attention in recent years as radicalized members have encouraged an ideology promoting violence.

Self-identified incel Elliot Rodger killed six people and injured 14 others near the University of California, Santa Barbara campus in 2014, and Nikolas Cruz — who allegedly killed 17 people and injured 17 others last year’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. — had posted online that “Elliot Rodger will not be forgotten.”