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Malala attendees shelter in place Friday night as police activity erupts outside Fox Theatre

Hundreds of patrons were asked to stay inside for safety reasons
Fox Theatre
Fox Theatre

Close to 700 people in attendance at the Fox Theatre, where Pakistani activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai spoke Friday night, were asked to shelter in place following an eruption of police activity outside the venue.

The incident started around 8 p.m., during the Q&A portion of the event, according to Ernie Schmidt, general manager of the Fox Theatre. Attendees were asked to remain in the theater for approximately 20 minutes until the situation was resolved by Redwood City Police. 

“It was bad enough that I made the decision to ask our 700 patrons who were just finishing up listening to Malala speak…to stay in the theatre until police were able to de-escalate what was occurring,” Schmidt told the Pulse over text.

One witness, Kelly O’Dea, who was at the Fox during the event, said on Nextdoor that she believed the police activity was due to teenagers shooting off fireworks.

“A bunch of teenagers were throwing fireworks all over the place, being menaces, and scaring people,” O’Dea wrote. (O’Dea gave the Pulse permission to republish her comments). “The event was coming to a close and the manager of the Fox said we’d be safer if we stayed in until the police cleared out the scene.”

Another resident also reported hearing fireworks.

The police department did not immediately respond to a request for comment. It's not clear exactly whether anyone was injured or whether there were any arrests made.

Redwood City Mayor Giselle Hale was reportedly in attendance during the event.


Leah Worthington

About the Author: Leah Worthington

Leah is the lead reporter for the Redwood City Pulse. A Bay Area native, she has written about everything from biotechnology to true crime. When she's not writing, you can find her running or baking. Habla español!
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