Wednesday night (May 25), chaos broke out at New York City’s Irving Plaza after a shooting took place backstage during a T.I. concert, leaving one man dead and three people injured. While police are still investigating how a person was able to enter the building with a gun, there are conflicting reports about security at the venue. Several media outlets cited police as saying there were metal detectors present at the venue — but several patrons tell Billboard that metal detectors weren’t spotted or in use at the show.
The decision whether to use metal detectors is usually up to the show’s promoter, although an act can request them (and may have to absorb the significant cost). Live Nation, which operates Irving Plaza, had not responded to requests for comment as of press time. Irving Plaza is currently directing all inquiries to NYPD, who told Billboard “there were metal detectors at the event,” but could not confirm whether they had been in use.
Gunshots just went off at the T.I concert, never been so scared in my life pic.twitter.com/rn0CjpAuaU
— Marco (@markygeezy) May 26, 2016
Billboard writer William Ketchum, who was on the scene, says that he did not see any metal detectors upon entering Irving Plaza through its main entrance on Irving Place between East 15th and 16th Streets, but security personnel patted down some of the patrons. “There weren’t metal detectors, but there were security people at the door,” he says. “It seemed like men and women were split into separate lines to get patted down, but there didn’t seem to be any consistency besides that.” He added, “I was patted down at the door, but my friend, who I went with, her purse was not searched. Another man I spoke to said he wasn’t searched at all, and that he didn’t even have a photo ID, just a paper license since he lost his wallet.”
Another concertgoer, who asked to remain anonymous, doesn’t recall seeing metal detectors or pat downs. “I entered Irving Plaza though the front entrance. There were two lines, one for general ticket holders and a second line for folks on the guest list who had to pick up their tickets from the inside. I was on the guest list line and was not patted down. I didn’t see anyone [else] get patted down and I didn’t see any metal detectors.”