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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A Missouri movie theater is in trouble with police for a promotion that could have had tragic consequences.

During the opening of “Iron Man 3”, the Goodrich Capital 8 had an actor walk into a theater with full tactical gear, carrying a fake gun. Several moviegoers were scared, thinking it was a real shooter, and called 911.

“Everything was in place, it’s the opening night of a superhero movie, it’s somebody walking in all-dark clothes, everything pointed to bad things about to happen,” Jefferson City Police Capt. Doug Shoemaker told the area’s FOX affiliate. “There’s really no good that can come of this.”

Shoemaker added that with a recent mass shooting at a Aurora, Colo. movie theater, this stunt was ill-advised.

The manager of the theater says this was planned months in advance, and only a few customers were upset. He added that the safety and security of his customers is his top priority.

Shoemaker countered that if an off-duty police officer had been in the theater, the actor would likely have been confronted, and could have been killed.

UPDATE: Friday afternoon, the theater posted the following statement on Facebook:

“We apologize and are sympathetic to those who felt they were in harm’s way with our character promotion for Iron Man 3. This was not a publicity stunt. We have worked with the Cosplacon group on many movies to dress up and help entertain our customers. We have had many complaints about the members dressed specifically as S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives carrying fake guns. We didn’t clearly tell our customers and some people didn’t realize it was for entertainment purposes only. We apologize that police were called to come out to our theater. We have a wonderful working relationship with the Jefferson City Police Department. Going forward we will take the necessary steps to make sure this doesn’t happen again. Security and safety for our customers is our number one priority.”