Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Boy going to see 'Man of Steel' finds gun in Ybor theater

TAMPA — Zane Noland opened a bathroom stall door at an Ybor City theater and unfolded a plot line rivaling the drama of the superhero movie playing on the screen.

"Dad," the 9-year-old said. "There's a gun."

On Father's Day, the boy, his 15-year-old brother, Ryan, and his dad, Wesley, were at Muvico Centro Ybor 20 to see Man of Steel, the new Superman movie.

Shortly after it started, about 3 p.m., Zane said he needed to go to the bathroom.

There, perched atop a toilet paper dispenser inside a busy bathroom inside a busy movie theater, he discovered the loaded Glock 26, a small semiautomatic weapon.

Noland, 48, a Marine veteran with years of gun experience and a concealed weapons permit, said the weapon just needed the slide pulled back to chamber a round. Then the trigger could be pulled to shoot it.

"This isn't like forgetting your keys or cellphone," he said Monday. "This is a loaded firearm."

He was horrified. There were other children in the bathroom. What if one of them had found it? What if a teenager pocketed it to play with later? Or someone with intent to harm others?

Nearly a year ago, 12 people in Colorado were massacred at a showing of another superhero movie, the Batman film The Dark Knight Rises.

Noland quickly took the gun, and brought his son into a private bathroom designed for families. Noland disarmed the Glock, put it on the diaper changing table and called 911.

Officers responded in minutes. Laura McElroy, a Tampa police spokeswoman, said Monday that the gun is being processed by the police agency and by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to try to determine its owner and to see whether it has ever been used in a crime.

Noland, of Temple Terrace, said he and Zane rejoined Ryan in the theater and watched the rest of the movie.

He is thankful they were the ones to find the gun, rather than someone inexperienced or curious. He said he is continually teaching his children about gun safety.

Zane told his dad he would not have touched the gun and gotten an adult if he had found it by himself.

"We did our Superman deed for the day," Noland said he told Zane. "We protected people from getting hurt."

Boy going to see 'Man of Steel' finds gun in Ybor theater 06/17/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 8:55am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Police: Uber driver's gun discharges during fight at Adventure Island in Tampa

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — An Uber driver's gun went off Sunday at Adventure Island during a fight between the driver and two passengers.

  2. Baker cautious on Pride politics


    Rick and Joyce Baker strode down Central Avenue Sunday amid rainbow flags, corporate booths, and blaring music of the St. Pete Pride Festival.

    St. Petersburg mayoral candidate Rick Baker chats Sunday with people at the St. Pete Pride Festival. As mayor, Baker did not sign a Pride parade proclamation, but now he says he would.
  3. Rays' bullpen stars lit up in loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday it was the soft underbelly of the bullpen that let one get away from the Rays, incurring the wrath of the team's faithful followers, who wondered why the high-leverage guys weren't pitching.

    Rays closer Alex Colome, coming in with the score tied in the ninth, allows three runs in his second straight poor outing.
  4. Lightning among early suitors for defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said he planned to explore free agency for potential needs, which include bolstering his blue line and adding a wing or two.

    Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who can be a free agent Saturday, counts the Lightning among his early suitors.
  5. Senate leaders try to appease members as support for health bill slips


    WASHINGTON — Senate Republican leaders scrambled Sunday to rally support for their health care bill, even as opposition continued to build outside Congress and two Republican senators questioned whether the bill would be approved this week.

    Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill on Thursday, is one of the five Republican senators who announced they cannot support the health care bill as drafted.