A man created panic at a Baltimore theater after yelling “Heil Hitler! Heil Trump!” during intermission of classic play “Fiddler on the Roof” which is set in a Jewish village in czarist Russia.
Audience member Rich Scherr said the outburst, during intermission at the Hippodrome Theatre on Wednesday, prompted fears that it was the beginning of a shooting. Scherr said a man seated in the balcony was behind the commotion. He described stunned audience members freezing in fear when the man began shouting minutes into the intermission.
“Everything just got really, really quiet. And then I heard this guy screaming: “Heil Hitler! Heil Trump!” he said in a Thursday phone interview. Other patrons told him they also heard the man yell about “MAGA,” President Donald Trump‘s “Make America Great Again” slogan.
A few dozen people started running for the exits, according to Scherr, while others began calling out for security. Scherr said he braced for the possibility of gun violence in the packed theater.
Samit Verma was seated in the balcony when he heard shouting and saw a man holding his hand straight up in a Nazi salute, he said in an email Thursday. Ushers rushed over to the man while audience members quickly made their way out of the theater and into the hall, Verma said.
“The people around me appeared to be quite shaken by the incident,” Verma said in the email. “There were some people in tears.”
After several minutes, the offending theatergoer was quietly escorted out of the Baltimore theater by security and the show continued without incident after the intermission ended. But Scherr said he thinks “everyone was shaken up” in the audience for the remainder of the night.
A Baltimore police spokeswoman, Det. Chakia Fennoy, said officers did respond to the Hippodrome at 9:40 p.m. Wednesday, but no arrest was made and no report was written. “The man just left on his own,” she said.
When asked why the police response ended there, Fennoy said she didn’t have more details to share.