SALT LAKE CITY (News4Utah) – The deadly shooting at a video gaming tournament in Jacksonville, FL on Sunday prompts security questions about large events in Utah, such as FanX, which is expecting more than 100,000 people this year.
“It breaks my heart to see someone who would go and do a shooting like that anywhere, not just at a tournament or a school, but the fact that someone felt the need to kill innocent people,” said Erin Poole, who plans on attending FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention this year.
Poole is making the final touches on her cosplay costumes as she prepares for her 3rd year at the event.
“I’m excited for FanX. I enjoy going and I look forward to it every year,” said Poole.
Poole said in the years she’s participated in the convention, she’s never felt like her safety was compromised.
“I have my full trust in them and their ability to do anything and everything they can to make the convention fun and safe,” said Poole. “They have wristbands. They do bag checks. They have a strict weapons code. They do not allow real guns.”
FanX’s weapons policy (viewable on their website) contains strict guidelines on props and accessories. In addition to private security, organizers have also hired officers with Salt Lake City Police Department for extra patrol.
“They usually have our officers near the entrances and exits where they can observe any suspicious activity,” said Det. Robert Ungricht with SLCPD. “We have officers that will typically roam around in case something suspicious pops out at them, they’re there to quickly deal with the situation.”
In a statement to News4Utah, Jeremy Kartchner with FanX said,
“After nine events and hundreds of thousands of participants, we have been fortunate to have had no notable challenges when it comes to firearms and attendee safety. Regardless, we are still dedicated to improving our infrastructure each and every event. We hire trained and professional security that are best of breed and many of our volunteers are off-duty military and police officers. Every participant’s safety is top of mind and an ever evolving priority.”