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Rumor of shooting threat at Ritz Ybor delays metal show

TAMPA — The call to police Monday came from inside the Ritz Ybor, the scene of a day-long death-metal band tour called Summer Slaughter.

A young woman had told a bartender she'd overheard two people saying a man armed with a gun and knife would start killing people during an upcoming set by the band Job For a Cowboy.

More than a dozen officers sped to the Ybor City club on E Seventh Avenue around 6 p.m. as Job for a Cowboy took the stage and played a couple of songs.

Nearly 1,000 people were evacuated, and part of Seventh Avenue cordoned off with yellow crime-scene tape, while police swept the building. Officers, who brought bomb-sniffing dogs, found nothing, said Lt. Barry Moskowitz.

Nearly two hours later, the concert resumed. A private security firm, Sentry Security, made pat-down searches of each patron who came back in the door.

Moskowitz said it was unclear if the report was a prank. But given the recent killings in a Colorado movie theater, he said, police could not take a chance.

The unexpected interlude sent into the early evening sunlight the black-shrouded concertgoers, many of them wearing T-shirts featuring such bands as Goatwhore or bearing such world views as "Living Hell."

They griped, they stood with arms folded, they looked for sustenance.

"Sir dude, can we cross and get a beer?" a young man asked an officer, who nodded and lifted the crime tape for passage.

Justin Freeman, 27, of Wesley Chapel, had been waiting to see the headliner band, Cannibal Corpse. He said he couldn't imagine violence at a death metal tour, where fans indulge brief slips into fantasy and laugh at intentionally overwrought lyrics.

"Who would want to kill at a death metal show?" he asked.

Indeed, it was the last thing on their minds when police arrived.

"We thought it was a drug thing," said Mike Persach, 25, of Tampa.

One young man waiting to get back in begged not to mention his name in the newspaper. He said his mother would have a fit.

Rumor of shooting threat at Ritz Ybor delays metal show 07/30/12 [Last modified: Monday, July 30, 2012 11:34pm]
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